Last week, we reported that Scarlett Johansson signed on to star in the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. The actress agreed to star in the flick, despite previous reports of her being undecided on the role.
When we first reported this, the film was still unconfirmed. It wasn’t greenlit for production, and no word on which financiers would be attached. The front-runner in most speculation at the time was Paramount, who had an option to join as a co-producer and funder for the project.
Earlier today, we finally got word on the film’s fate. Ghost in the Shell was officially greenlit for production, with Disney footing the bill. Deadline reports that the House of Mouse scheduled the release of the film for April 14, 2017.
The announcement is an interesting one, as Disney isn’t a company that likes to back a loser. They tend to adequately fund the projects they back, regardless of the scope of appeal. Hell, this is the company that gave the Need for Speed movie a $66 million budget.
But I digress.
Ghost in the Shell, on the other hand, is a landmark in the anime and manga world. Its deeper themes of humanity and sexuality run through a wonderfully paced, truly compelling narrative. It’s influenced filmmakers across the world, from the Wachowskis (The Matrix) to Dreamworks co-founder Steven Spielberg, and remains a must-see for anime fans today.
Disney’s influence does present a number of questions, though. Particularly, what strings are attached to the funding? What concessions would need to be made to get the House of Mouse’s seal of approval on the project? Likewise, how will the property be changed in this adaptation for the North American market?
Scarlett Johannson is an actress of impeccable talent, and there’s little doubt that she can handle off the role of Motoko Kusanagi with ease. The biggest concerns stem from the rest of the team, particularly the middling screenwriter (Bill Wheeler) and unimpressive executive producer (Mark Sourian).
Hopefully, given the nature of the property, and the strength of the announced cast, the Ghost in the Shell live-action flick will turn into something enjoyable. Little is really known about the project at this point, so we can only really hope that our fears and worries turn into optimism with each new reveal and announcement.