Ghost in the Shell Casts Rila Fukushima, But Not to Replace Scarlett Johansson

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Rila Fukushima. Photo: Rindoff/Le Segretain/Getty Images

Oh, good! Paramount has finally learned its lesson and cast a Japanese actress in its adaptation of the anime classic, Ghost in the Shell — oh, wait? She's not replacing the white actress who's playing the lead? Okay, hmm ... According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rila Fukushima (Yukio in The Wolverine, Katana on Arrow) has joined the cast of the upcoming futuristic thriller, which stars Scarlett Johansson and is being directed by Snow White and the Hunstman's Rupert Sanders. Johansson's character, the Major, is known as Motoko Kusanagi in the original series and film, though her race is a little unclear, given the fact that she's a cyborg. Still, the film has been criticized for whitewashing — because Kusanagi and the story are fundamentally Japanese creations now in the hands of white creators — and for yellowface, amid reports that Paramount tried out visual effects to make Scarlett Johansson look more Asian (the studio claims the effect was only tested on an extra in a background scene, not on ScarJo herself). Fukushima is the first Japanese woman to join the cast, and its second Japanese actor, after Takeshi Kitano, who will play the Major's boss. The rest of the cast includes Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, and Pilou Asbæk (the Danish dude on Game of Thrones who looks like Joshua Jackson). They will all have to grapple with the existential question of what it means to have a consciousness!