The news that Dreamworks' live action remake of the 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell will star Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi has angered many fans who felt that a Japanese actress should have been chosen for the role.
Other examples of characters being "whitewashed" in movies include The Edge of Tomorrow (2014), The Last Airbender (2010) and Speed Racer (2008). Does the practice of whitewashing bother you?
Rinko Kikuchi, just one example of a talented, Academy Award nominated Japanese actress who would make a great Major Kusanagi if given the chance. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
None of the movies I was talking about were animated though. The original Ghost in the Shell movie was but the remake is live action so it's pretty obvious that a supposedly Japanese character with a Japanese name is suddenly white.
Actually I think a fair bit of progress has been made already. I don't think Hollywood could slip through an out an out racist caricature like the Micky Rooney character in Breakfast at Tiffany's now and not have people up in arms and boycotting the film. I think it will change, but people need to speak up about it.
I don't like this practice at all. Nor do I like it when one "ethnic" actor or actress becomes popular and then pops up in any film that has an "ethnic" character in it. There are many talented actors out there, why not choose an appropriate one for the role?