Ghost In The Shell Script: Action, Atmosphere & The Internet

Unless you were a manga/anime fan in the 1990s, you might not be up on all the geeky details of Ghost In The Shell. Allow me to recap: It started with Shirow Masamune's classic manga comic, first published in 1989. In 1995, Ghost In The Shell was made into a groundbreaking anime film that became a cult smash here in the states. Animated sequels and miniseries have followed throughout the years.

About two years ago we first got word that a live-action Ghost In The Shell movie was in the pipeline over at Dreamworks, and back in October we were updated with the news that Shutter Island scribe Laeta Kalogridis will be writing the script (she replaces Street Kings writer Jamie Moss).

Well this past week I had a chance to ask Kalogridis a few questions (as a friendly PR person was whisking her out of the Shutter Island press conference in NYC), and she was kind enough pause and give me a few answers on some key points I know you Ghost In The Shell fans have been wondering about.

If you don't know, Ghost In The Shell is a serial-killer conspiracy mystery set in a  future where technology is everything and human beings have been augmented with cybernetic parts down to their very brains, which are hardwired into a neural network that I can only describe as having the Internet pumped directly into your mind.

Now, most Ghost fans will tell you that there is a big difference between Masamune's manga comic and the anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii. The manga is a full of action - a cyber-punk action/mystery with heady themes. The anime followed the basic plot of the manga, but put a lot more emphasis on those heady themes, resulting in an "atmospheric" film with a meditative tone that some people weren't fond of.

So of course, Ghost fans everywhere are wondering if this upcoming live-action film is going to be more like the manga or the anime movie.

Kalogridis told me that the script for Ghost In The Shell will be drawn from  Masamune's manga comic and that it has "a lot of action... lots of action." However, she then added, "there's still going to be a lot of atmosphere - [The movie] is about vast possibilities - all of this technology, the Internet - it's about the limitless possibilities of this technology. "

Again, if you don't know a lot about Ghost In the Shell then that statement may be a bit confusing. The murder mystery plot of Ghost In The Shell has Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team trying to track down a killer who can "hack" people's minds through their neural networks, forcing them do unspeakable things. As Kusanagi tries to delve into the network and piece together the killer's true identity, questions about reality, the human mind and/or soul and the role of technology in our world begin to bubble to the surface.

Based on Kalogridis' words, I'm envisioning this Ghost In The Shell flick as being in the cyber-noir-meets-philosophy style of The Matrix or Minority Report. Is that a bad thing? Certainly not. However, as always, there is a definite risk that the ideas being explored in Ghost In The Shell could be too heady and heavy for viewers expecting a futuristic action thriller. And I can tell you: Kalogridis is not afraid to dive into some deep waters; expect her script to be deep...and dark.

So, what do you guys make of all this? Sound like a Ghost In The Shell movie you want to see?

Ghost In The Shell is currently in development, slated for release in 2011.

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