Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’: Everything We Know So Far

DreamWorks’s Ghost in the Shell, based on Masamune Shirow’s acclaimed manga series of the same name, won’t hit theaters until late March, but audiences are already getting glimpse of what they can expect from the movie. As the premiere date fast approaches, the studio is releasing new details about the action flick, which stars Scarlett Johansson in the lead role. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming adaptation.

1. The cast

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell | DreamWorks

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell | DreamWorks

Johnasson will take on the lead role in the upcoming live-action adaptation. The actress, who has become one of the top stars in the action movie game, took on the part in 2014, following a $10 million offer from DreamWorks. She will play Major Motoko Kusanag, a special ops cyborg employed at Public Security Section 9, an elite task force of Hanka Robotics that specializes in fighting Internet-related crimes.

Joining Johansson are Sam Riley, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, and Kaori Momoi. Meanwhile, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo will round out the supporting cast as members of Section 9.

The first image of Johansson as Major was released in April 2016, as seen above.

Update 6/8/16: Additional images of Johansson as Major were leaked from the set and can be seen on Twitch via HK01.

Update 7/6/16: A photo of Johansson with other cast and crew members was recently posted on Twitter, seen below:

2. It’s been in the works for several years

Ghost In The Shell | Production I.G

Ghost in the Shell | Source: Production I.G

DreamWorks first acquired the rights for its take on Ghost in the Shell in 2008, with Steven Spielberg initially attached to direct. After Spielberg exited the project, the studio continued development on the adaptation, which took a significant step forward with Johansson’s casting in 2014.

This will only be the latest adaptation of popular manga series, which previously inspired a 1995 animated film (seen above) and a sequel in 2004. It also spawned an Animax TV series entitled Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which ran from 2002 to 2006.

3. It won’t be a straightforward origin story

Ghost in the Shell

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell | DreamWorks SKG

Producer Avi Arad recently told Collider that the upcoming film won’t necessarily be a typically origin story. As he described:

We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze. The Kuze story. The big thing we are doing here is that we’re not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by [the] episode of Affection in Second Gig. It’s bits and pieces of those mixed together.

Arad also spoke about some of the specific themes of the film, stating, “Ghost hacking is a big storyline in the movie and in some ways we take it even further. This idea of if someone could change your memories, what would that do to your sense of self?”

4. It will stay faithful to the source material

From the sounds of it, the movie will be sticking closely to the internationally acclaimed sci-fi property it’s based on. Per the official synopsis, the film will follow Major as she leads Section 9 in their quest to stop the most dangerous criminals and extremists – including The Laughing Man (Riley), whose singular goal is to wipe out all of Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.

5. The creative team

rupert sanders

Rupert Sanders | Marianna Massey/Getty Images

As announced early last year, Rupert Sanders (above) is set to helm the upcoming adaptation. The filmmaker is best known for previously directing 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.

Sanders will direct the film based on a screenplay from Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), who was tapped to rewrite the script last fall. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the writer was brought on to do an overhaul of previous drafts written by William Wheeler (The Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) and Jamie Moss.

The movie will be produced by The Amazing Spider-Man producer Avi Arad (Iron Man) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘s Ari Arad and Steven Paul. Meanwhile, Michael Costigan (Prometheus), Tetsu Fujimura (Tekken), and Jeffrey Silver (Edge of Tomorrow300) will serve as executive producers alongside Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, whose animation studio Production I.G helped develop the Japanese Ghost in the Shell film and television series.

Ghost in the Shell is currently set to hit theaters on March 31, 2017.

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