The Western adaptation of the anime awesomeness that is Ghost in the Shell has officially entered production with its first still from the film. Scarlett Johansson is busting out of her Black Widow catsuit, but still proving she's a stone-cold killer by bringing this comic book series to life.
Filming has begun in Wellington, New Zealand, with Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders at the helm. The first-release image shows us Johansson's Major Motoko Kusanagi, the protagonist of the film and a one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid. Her role in the series is to stop a Terminator-esque future dominated by robots and cybernetics.
Based on the famous Kodansha series by Masamune Shirow and originally published as a seinen manga series, Ghost in the Shell is set in a cyber-punk version of the 21st century and the fictional Japanese city of Niihama, a.k.a New Port City. Niihama is policed by a Public Security Section 9, an elite team of former military officers and police detectives that is led by Kusanagi.
The Section 9 team will be played by a largely international cast including Chin Han from Singapore, Englishwoman Danusia Samal, Australian Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara from Japan, and Zimbabwean Tawanda Manyimo. Cast members for the film also include Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk and Kaori Momoi.
The creators of this version of Ghost in the Shell recently came under fire for casting Johansson in the role of the Japanese major, in what many see as a case of "whitewashing" the franchise.
There have been several animated versions of the story that have made it to our screens, starting with the 1995 film and ending with last year's Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie. However, 2017 will mark the first time the series has ventured away from animated form.
The Paramount/DreamWorks film set is for a March 31, 2017 release.