Steven Paul, producer of the live action Ghost In the Shell movie, spoke to Buzzfeed on Wednesday and defended the decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as the main character, Major Kusanagi. Paul stated that he doesn’t believe that fans of the manga and anime will be disappointed once they see it. The setting has been changed from a specifically Japanese area, to a more international setting. The cast, Paul stated, has also been changed to a largely international one, and that Major Kusanagi’s name has been changed to just “The Major.” Many Ghost In the Shell fans have been up in arms since the announcement of ScarJo’s casting, as it seemed to be a piece in a greater puzzle that is the whitewashing problem in Hollywood. Paul, however, defends the decision as not part of the whitewashing issue, but just a part of an overall decision to change the setting of the film. Many people on Twitter, however, are already not buying the defense.
Along with his defense of the casting choices made for Ghost In The Shell, Paul also talked about his work on a Lone Wolf and Cub live action movie. Paul’s film will be a remake of the 1993 film, Lone Wolf and Cub: Final Conflict, which is based off of a manga of the same name written in the 1970’s. Paul did say that due to the nature of the Lone Wolf and Cub story revolving around samurais, he is planning on using a primarily Japanese cast. One has to wonder if he made that decision organically, or due to the backlash over ScarJo. Either way, at least he isn’t planning on completely whitewashing another beloved Japanese story. You’d think that Hollywood would have learned that lesson after Dragonball Evolution.