Is Scarlett Johansson Hollywood’s Next Top Action Movie Star?

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Source: Universal Pictures

Scarlett Johansson has gradually been making a name for herself in the action movie game and now, it looks like she may have her next big role in the genre all lined up. The actress is reportedly up for the lead role in DreamWorks’ upcoming live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s iconic manga, Ghost in the Shell.

According to Deadline, Johansson has been offered $10 million to play the movie’s cyborg lead character Major Motoko Kusanagi. For those unfamiliar with the graphic novel, Motoko is a cyborg employed at Public Security Section 9, the fictional covert ops unit of the real Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting Internet-related crimes, such as hacking and other cyber warfare. Strong-willed and highly intelligent, Motoko maintains a commanding presence while taking on terrorists and other tech-savvy criminals in the mid 21st century of Japan.

The popular story has undergone multiple adaptations, including a 1995 animated film 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. DreamWorks’ first acquired the rights for their take in 2008, with Steven Spielberg initially attached to direct. Early this year, it was announced that Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) would be taking Spielberg’s place to helm the project. Avi Arad (Spider-Man), Steven Paul (Ghost Rider), and Mark Sourian (Need for Speed) are on board to produce, from a script written by William Wheeler (The Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist).

Johansson’s possible involvement in the project came about after the previous choice for the role dropped out. Per Deadline, Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie was originally in talks for the part, but pulled herself out of consideration after receiving a competing offer to star in DC Entertainment’s just announced 2016 comic book flick Suicide Squad (which is also reportedly eyeing Robbie’s Focus co-star Will Smith for a part).

It should come as no surprise that DreamWorks would extend an offer to Johansson — and with a hefty action price, no less. In addition to acclaimed roles in Her and Under the Skin, the actress has proven her action movie prowess with her well-received turn as Black Widow in Marvel’s Captain America, Iron Man, and Avengers franchises. Johansson’s portrayal is liked enough that fans have been campaigning for the actress to get her own Black Widow solo film, albeit without much success so far. But Johansson truly showed herself to be more than capable of carrying an blockbuster action movie, with this summer’s Lucy. Despite the film’s silly premise, Johansson earned positive reviews for her performance and the film itself a huge box office success, grossing over $412 million against a budget of $40 million. To put that into perspective, that’s more than either of Liam Neeson’s Taken films earned individually.

In fact, Neeson may want to watch out. With all the love that female-led action flicks have gotten lately and Ghost in the Shell’s cult fanbase, the upcoming adaptation could be a big hit. Should she decide to take on the role, it seems like Johansson will be well on her way to becoming Hollywood’s most in-demand action movie star.

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