It has been announced today that filming has begun in New Zealand for director Rupert Sanders’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, with Paramount and DreamWorks releasing the first still showing star Scarlett Johansson.
Johansson’s character name has yet to be confirmed, but it is assumed she will be playing the film’s equivalent of series heroine Motoko Kusanagi, alongside Pilou Asbeck (Lucy) as Batou and Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale) as Chief Aramaki. British actor Sam Riley (Brighton Rock, Control) had previously been been announced to play principal antagonist ‘The Laughing Man’, but he now appears to have been replaced by Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire).
Some sources have also credited Pitt’s character name as ‘Kuze’, suggesting that the film’s story may attempt to merge the separate storylines from seasons one and two of the Stand Alone Complex TV series, rather than drawing on the original Ghost in the Shell manga storyline, as adapted for the 1995 Mamoru Oshii anime film.
The live-action Ghost in the Shell will open on March 31st 2017.