It looks like hell in the shell for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell film, while the controversy around it is spreading like the computer virus from within. It hasn't been an easy ride for the live-action reimagining of the manga classic and director Rupert Sanders must be sitting with his head in his hands. Firstly accused of whitewashing, the film was then called out for featuring a scantily clad #ScarlettJohansson and her *erm* assets were quite clearly visible in the trailer. Well, things are about to get worse for Rupert, much worse.
While viral marketing can be a great help to get you noticed, it can also be your downfall in an era where a retweet can cost you everything. Does anyone remember Susan Boyle's unfortunate hashtag debacle with Susanalbumparty? Not exactly the kind of soiree I would be attending. Now, #GhostintheShell is the latest to fall on its own sword, falling victim to those venomous internet trolls. #Paramount's promotional website IAmMajor.me offers visitors a chance to upload their own photo and text — with hilarious results.
Ghost In The Hell
The gloves were always off for the reimagining of Masamune Shirow's lauded source material, but the teeth are really out for the viral campaign surrounding the film: Internet - 1 Paramount - 0. It didn't take long for us tech-savvy millennials to realize that adding whatever you want text-wise can be the perfect platform for us to get on our political soapbox:
Talk about opening a can of worms. Users were mainly adamant that ScarJo's casting was an insult to the series, once again championing that someone like Pacific Rim's Rinko Kikuchi or The Wolverine's Tao Okamoto should've nabbed the part as Major Motoko Kusanagi. It is an issue that just won't go away, despite how many times the cast and crew attempt to reassure us it is nonsense. Johansson has spoken out on numerous occasions about the issue, telling Marie Claire that she took the role because it is rare to have a franchise that is so female-first:
"I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that — the weight of such a big property on my shoulders."
Sadly, the film is done now, and with a March 31 release, so it is something we will have to live with. We can generate as many political memes as we want, but the whitewashing debacle is one that has been going on for decades and seems likely to continue.
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The heckling didn't just stop at Ghost in the Shell, it seemed like the website inadvertently threw shade at all of Hollywood. Ripe for the trolling was Netflix's latest addition Iron Fist and elsewhere, Jake Gyllenhaal's casting in Prince of Persia once again reared its head. Most noticeably though was Matt Damon, whose controversial role in The Great Wall made the Ghost in the Shell situation look like a storm in a teacup.
Good work, Paramount, you have effectively just ignited the spark all over again. Strangely, Tilda Swinton's Ancient One from Doctor Strange has somehow escaped the furor for now, but let's place bets on how long it is before the studio shuts the website down. Even if you aren't using it to express your concerns for the upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell, you can still use it to while away some hours at the office desk with less politically charged memes:
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some very important business to attend to. If you need to find me, I will be creating viral memes in a dark corner of the internet.
Check out the trailer for Ghost in the Shell, and don't forget our poll below!
Do you think someone else should've played The Major?
(Source: Marie Claire)
[Poll Image Credit: 'Ghost in the Shell' - Paramount]