Paramount Reportedly Tried to Make ScarJo Look Asian With VFX for Ghost in the Shell

Not an Asian person. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Folks have been none too happy about Scarlett Johansson getting cast as the lead in Ghost In the Shell, and a new report from some anonymous sources is adding fuel to the fire. The movie’s a live-action, American-made take on a classic Japanese manga and anime franchise. So the decision to put the oh-so-white ScarJo in the role of a Japanese character previously named Major Kusanagi (apparently now just called “the Major”) didn’t sit well with anyone concerned about Hollywood’s ongoing whitewashing problem. Today, ScreenCrush dropped a bomb: According to “multiple independent sources close to the project,” the studio “commissioned visual effects tests that would’ve altered Scarlett Johansson in post-production to ‘shift her ethnicity’ and make the Caucasian actress appear more Asian in the film.” Zoinks!

Touching up an actor’s face is increasingly common in Hollywood, so it’s not beyond the pale to assume such a thing is possible on a technical level. Paramount told ScreenCrush that a VFX test had happened, but that it had nothing to do with ScarJo: “A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded,” the studio’s statement reads. “Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.”

Studio Reportedly Tried Making ScarJo Look Asian