New photographs have been posted online showing location filming for the forthcoming live action Ghost in the Shell film taking place in Hong Kong. Along with a more detailed look at Scarlett Johansson’s character, images also show the first sight of Pilou Asbaek in costume as second in command, Batou.
Following widespread accusations of studio ‘whitewashing’ after Johansson’s casting as a Japanese character, the film has remained controversial, with rumours emerging in April that special effects tests had been carried out to explore the possibility of making Johansson look ‘more asian’. Paramount have acknowledged that tests of this nature did take place, although they deny that Johansson was ever the subject of them.
Additionally, while it has been confirmed that Johansson will play a character analogous to Motoko Kusanagi in the original Ghost in the Shell manga and anime, the exact ethnicity of her character has yet to be acknowledged, so far only being named as ‘The Major’.
What elements of the source material will be carried over into the new film’s storyline also remain unclear. The presence of characters specific to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex suggests it will draw upon the 2002 anime series, but the 1995 film is well known for having based its distinctive visuals on the look of Hong Kong, as opposed to anywhere in Japan.
The film’s release date is set for March 2017.