The Ghost in the Shell is already being whitewashed, with the live-action version of the manga series being helmed by Scarlett Johansson. To make matters worse, sources claim producers at one point looked into testing special effects to give her features that looked more Asian.
Released just yesterday, the first image of Johansson in character as Major Motoko Kusanagi—a Japanese cyborg in the original anime—shows the actress sporting short dark hair. The movie just started production in New Zealand this week and hits theaters on March 31, 2017.
This Screen Crush report suggests that producers sought the help of Lola VFX (the company that CGI’d Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) to test effects that would’ve changed Johansson’s physical features to look less white:
After the backlash surrounding Johansson’s role in the film, producers reportedly attempted to quell the controversy with an old standby Hollywood uses to fix a lot of problems: CGI.
According to multiple independent sources close to the project, Paramount and DreamWorks 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.
Johansson reportedly didn’t know about the testing, and:
Though the tests were requested by the production team, once they were developed and reviewed, the idea was rejected “immediately,” says an insider.
Paramount Pictures denied some of the claims, telling Screen Crush: “A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.”
They would’ve had a hard time explaining that.
Image via Dreamworks/Paramount