ByTim Gonzales, writer at
Sombra is my spirit animal ∙ twitter @timgonzales ∙ I make trailers for things I enjoy at
Tim Gonzales

First, I would like to preface this article by saying I do not support Hollywood whitewashing, and myself being Filipino, I am a huge proponent of ethic diversity among actors and roles in films. While I wasn't keen on the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead in Ghost in the Shell at first, I understand that it's a role for a character whose age and nationality can vary with each iteration as her body is just a vessel for her mind.

That said! I came across a great speed painting (done in 90 minutes) of Scarlett Johansson as Motoko done up by the super talented Jose Barrero, and it's pretty rad. Check it out:

Art by Jose Barrero
Art by Jose Barrero

The resemblance is pretty uncanny, surprisingly enough. And granted, it's a very simple image of Johansson as Major Kusanagi but I think it's a pretty good representation of what she'll look like in the film.

When I first came across this piece, its execution (the hair, the look, the eyes, the mood) was done so well that it honestly made me rethink the casting for a moment, and ultimately convinced me that I should be ok with this.

Are you convinced?
Are you convinced?

Do I still have my doubts about the film? Sure. Jose's painting has only convinced me that casting Scarlett was a good move on DreamWorks' part. The project is still a HUGE risk, despite landing an A-list star. Rupert Sanders' initial big budget outing was nothing to write home about, and live-action anime adaptations have been squandered horribly at the box office so far.

The odds are heavily against Ghost in the Shell, but fortunately everyone involved has plenty of time to sort things out. The film is slated to open on April 14, 2017.

About the Artist

Jose Barrero, born August 6, 1987, is an Illustrator with years of experience in covers, interiors, comic, concept art, character design and more based in Huelva, Spain. You can view more of his work at or via his Deviant Art.


Has Jose Barrero's painting of Scarlett as Major Motoko convinced you she's right for the role?


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