The thought never occurred to me, but I suppose it should have. Tor.com has published a story that a live action adaptation of Mamoru Oshii’s classic anime movie Ghost in the Shell is in the works. For those who don't remember their cyber-punk history, Ghost in the Shell is the animated movie that inspired the 1999 Wachowskis brothers' blockbuster movie The Matrix, and pumped a little more life into a sub-genre of science fiction that had experienced slowing sales the previous few years. The movie, which was an extension of the print anime begun in 1989, dealt with the theme of artificial intelligence, the definition of life, and the concept of a soul.
What does surprise me is the casting. Scarlett Johansson will be portraying Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese cyborg cyber-crime fighter. Yeah, that Scarlett Johansson.
I guess the fact that the protagonist is Japanese and that Hollywood has decided to cast a non-Asian actress shouldn't surprise me, especially considering that movie execs would rather invest in big names than worry about something like "story-accuracy," but still...seriously? Ms. Johansson is a fine actress, and I have nothing against her or her acting ability - doesn't mean she's right for the role and it doesn't mean I have to like the decision to include her.
At this point, according to the article, the project has yet to be fully approved and funded (insert sigh of relief here), but attaching Scarlett's name to the effort may increase its chances of making it to the screen one day.
One can only hope they don't screw this one up too terribly bad.
Until Next Time...