There may be some controversy still surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s casting as an originally-Asian role in the film, but the buzz surrounding Paramount’s upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell adaptation has been on a steady uphill climb these past few months. Based on the beloved anime/manga property of the same name, the film follows The Major (Johansson), a cyborg with a human soul, as she leads the elite crime-fighting team known as Section 9 through the crime-ridden streets of a futuristic Hong Kong. Fans of the source material have been understandably skeptical of the upcoming adaptation, but the amount of exciting, sci-fi imagery and mind-bending action sequences have helped to make the trailers and posters stand out from this year’s other blockbusters so far
Paramount has been steadily increasing its promotions for the film as of late, and with only a few more weeks to go until it hits theaters, it doesn’t look like the studio will be slowing down anytime soon either. So following the release of some new, Major-heavy posters earlier today, a brand new look at one of the film’s more unique sci-fi creations has been revealed.
The upcoming issue of Empire Magazine will feature six pages’ worth of Ghost in the Shell coverage, but ahead of that issue’s release, the magazine has offered the first, brief snippet from their interview with Johansson about the film. In addition to the first image of The Major’s steampunk inspired, futuristic motorcycle (see below), Johansson talked about what it was like getting to dive headfirst into the psyche of The Major:
“She’s living a unique experience, as somebody who has an idea of who she thinks she was, and then who she is now, and the person that she feels she is, this sort of gnawing feeling she has in her ghost. Being able to play those three sides: the ego, the superego and the id… That was pretty enticing.”
Ghost in the Shell is set to be directed by Rupert Sanders, making this the filmmaker’s first directorial outing since 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Sanders appears to be bringing the same eye for crazy, unexpected visuals to Ghost in the Shell that he did with Snow White – which despite being received with mostly lukewarm reviews from critics and fans, completely reimagined the traditional fairy tale as a dark, CGI-heavy fantasy epic. For a property like Ghost in the Shell then, he seems like a perfect choice to at least bring the source material’s style and world to life faithfully.
Similarly, the role of The Major only continues to demonstrate Johansson’s range and widespread abilities onscreen. This won’t be the first time to the actress dips her toes into the sci-fi genre by any means, after successful previous outings like Under the Skin and Her, but it’s arguably her most notable to date. So by combining her onscreen charisma with Sanders’ eye for interesting visuals, along with an impressive supporting cast, Ghost in the Shell is shaping up to be one of Hollywood’s most promising anime/manga live-action adaptations to date. Considering the industry’s lackluster track record with these kinds of adaptations too, that’s about as much as fans can hope for at this point.