Ghost in the Shell Casting Shows We Need More Than White Feminism

Dizchu

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SNCommand said:
It also torpedoed her career, ending the high profile roles she had been receiving since winning her academy award, seems like only recently that she's been making a return

This whole project screams trainwreck, I don't think we want to smudge the reputation of say Rinko Kikuchi with it
True. What I'm getting at is that it takes more than a single actor/actress to determine whether or not a film will be any good. Many people find Keanu Reeves to be a mediocre actor yet they'll still applaud The Matrix (the original one at least).

The fact that people attribute so much of the success or failure of a film to its lead actors/actresses really bothers me.
 

Kurt Cristal

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valium said:
wasted opportunity, sure. potential subpar anime adaptation hollywood butchering, sure.

sad that they picked a good looking, sufficiently good acting, proven can do action movies, crowd drawing, actress to play the lead role?

no, I am not.

stop going far out of your way to be offended, it is becoming really really really

really

really

reallyreallyreallyreally

really tiring.

stop it
This. Wow, I want to thank the OP for personally rehashing everything that was already covered in the original thread about the casting decision and adding absolutely zero things to this discussion that hasn't already been discussed.
 

CrystalShadow

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Scars Unseen said:
Soviet Heavy said:
A much greater travesty is the dub for the anime Steins;Gate, where they completely erased all traces of Japanese otaku culture from the show, which was half of what the show was actually about.
I don't... Oh wait, I've never seen the dub of steins;gate - the tv channel that was showing it here was showing a subbed version, not dubbed.
Sounds messed up. Especially considering some of the main plot points...

OT: eh. You know what? I'm beyond caring at this point. It's annoying this keeps happening on some level, but at the same time GiTS while set in japan isn't really about much of anything that is all that specific to Japan.
you could set it anywhere and it wouldn't change most of the stories that much. (Well, except maybe some of the xenophobic sublots about immigrants - although... That isn't an idea exclusive to Japan)
 

Tono Makt

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A) Hollywood isn't here to be a social force. It's here to make money. Casting a white woman in a movie that will be primarily aimed at Americans will make more money than a casting a more "appropriate" person in the role. ie: Oriental. While MOIVES and CINEMA can be powerful social forces... those are separate from Hollywood. Hollywood = $$$$$$$$$. That's why we get so much stuff aimed at teenage kids who literally don't know a good movie when they're presented with one. Most of us didn't know good movies from bad movies until we saw dozens of bad movies, saw a few good movies and learned how to tell good from bad.

Think of Hollywood as Matthew McConaughey from Dazed and Confused. Every year there's a new crop of kids who haven't seen a terrible Michael Bay movie yet, but it looks awesome in the trailer so they line up to go see it. Boys, mostly; the big money-making movies are always aimed at boys. (white boys, to be more precise) Boys don't care that it's got sexist jokes in it. Boys don't care that it's got racist jokes in it. They don't even understand what racism and sexism are, for the most part. It's loud, it's crude, it doesn't require any sort of deep thought, just go with it and enjoy it. Maybe in 10 years they'll look back on the movie and say "How... did I ever think that it was actually funny to see a transformer with giant testicles?" or "Those twins ... ya know, I've seen some actual racist shit, and those twins... I dunno man, if they aren't outright racist they're somewhere on that family tree.".

But that same year, there's another crop of kids who haven't seen a terrible (insert new director who makes terrible movies aimed at kids, mostly) move yet, but the trailer looks awesome. And David Wooderson is sitting back there going "Teenagers. Every year I keep making billions of dollars, and they just stay the same age."

That's Hollywood. Don't expect Hollywood to care about social causes at all; the best you can hope for is that a cause you believe in will catch the attention of a Hollywood studio looking to win an Oscar. Beyond that, don't expect a thing.

Now if you want MOVIES to help with social causes... you're going to have to out there and make your own movie. Or find someone who's making a movie you believe in and help them make that movie.

B) The segue into the sexism/feminism/gender demographics of Hollywood is... a bit of a red herring in this article. I will wholeheartedly agree that it's an important issue to discuss, but including it into this article is just going to give people who want to scream about Feminism/Feminists/Misogynists/Sexists a reason to scream about those topics, and ignore what I gather is supposed to be the main thrust of the article - that there is a problem with casting a white woman in what has been an Asian woman's role up to now.

Also, the discussion about women in Hollywood's backroom/boardroom? That's going to have to be a far larger discussion about women in backroom/boardrooms in general, not just Hollywood. Hollywood isn't different enough from Wall Street or K Street or Silicon Valley to warrant its own separate topic.


c) Rinko Kikuchi

Other than Pacific Rim, what has she been in to show she can act? She's cute, she's Japanese, she's able to deal with choreographed fight scenes impressively, but... okay? I liked her in Pacific Rim, but I wasn't impressed with her. Or any of the actors, really, beyond Idris Elba. (I liked most of them, but liked is not the same as being impressed.) A big meh for me on her for the Major.
 

Poetic Nova

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I'm personally more concerned that the movie will end up sucking rather than who plays Major Kusanagi.
 

Tono Makt

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deth2munkies said:
Because anime girls overwhelmingly look like white women by design.

Sorry, but somebody had to say it.
Where the white women with blue hair at?

(seriously, how come girls rarely dye their hair a bright shade of blue? pinks, reds, purplishes, yellows, all over the place. but a nice Sailor Mercury shade of blue? argh!)
 

NeutralDrow

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Mild quibble: live-action adaptations of anime in Japan have a non-perfect, but still much better track record than Western attempts. I can personally speak to the quality of the live action Great Teacher Onizuka.

Otherwise, spot on. I'd like to think the increase in female-lead heroic movies recently is baby steps in at least a right direction, and Johansson is at least a good actress...then I remember reading that there's actually fewer women cast overall in movies in the past decade, so it's really more like baby twitching in a random direction, and throwing the concurrent racial casting issues into sharp relief. It doesn't even help that I don't like movies.
 

Ugicywapih

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I really fail to see what the big deal is with the lead role casting.
Yeah, the original Motoko Kusanagi is Japanese and it is perhaps regrettable, that audiences tend to associate more with characters of their own ethnicity (or at least conventional moviemaking "wisdom" seems to indicate so), but as it's been pointed out, she's a cyborg with a robotic body, so her external features are, to a degree superficial. The point, that her body type was mass-produced (and Japanese) was important in the original work, but on one hand the body is highly replaceable in this case, and besides, I wouldn't be too surprised if they just whitewash the entire setting, taking it from Tokyo to New York or San Francisco or whatever.
And really, it doesn't really bother me too much, since, at least to my limited understanding, GitS doesn't really rely too much on inherently Japanese cultural sensibilities, making whitewashing it fairly benign as far as the core ideas of the show, mostly centered around transhumanism and the question of whether artificial intelligence comes with artificial humanity, are concerned (a complete opposite of the Akira case).
If anything, I recall the choice of director was being discussed as somewhat controversial due to his poor track record, but whitewashing GitS? Yeah, it's perhaps regrettable, to a degree, but if I'm getting a donut with powdered sugar rather than proper glaze, I've still got a donut and it's not like someone dipped it in mayonnaise just because they think mayonnaise goes well with everything. I'll take it, and enjoy it so long as the filling isn't a mess, thank you very much.
 

Erttheking

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Adam Jensen said:
I have no problem with the casting. We don't know to what extent the movie is going to follow the 1995 anime. But even if we did, I still don't have a problem. It's just an anime movie. It's not like it's about a historic figure and the race of the characters matters like if someone had cast Denzel Washington to play George Washington.

There's a double standard here. Most people on The Escapist (I remember this) claimed that they wouldn't have a problem with a black James Bond, despite him being an iconic character with a long history. The dude is Scottish. But you have a problem with this all of a sudden? With an anime character being played by a non-Asian? Really? Do you really?
What does being Scottish have to do with his skin color? They're a minority but black Scots DO exist.

http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ico/sprays/untitled-1_22.png

I'm sorry, you royally shot yourself in the foot with the way you worded your argument.

And if I had to take a wild guess, I think the reason not too many people are bothered are because the white characters being played by non-white actors are isolated cases, while non-white characters being played by white actors has a rather depressing precedent. Not to mention Hollywood has a tendency to give limited roles to non-white actors. I'd be perfectly ok with the "Skin shouldn't matter, acting skill should" mindset, but sadly Hollywood just doesn't seem comfortable unless the majority of the actors are white. Hence the anger.

For example, in the Hunger Games book, Katniss was described as having olive skin. The casting for her character flat out called for "should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone ?underfed but strong,? and ?naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness." For the record, people with olive skin are commonly from Latin America.
 

Erttheking

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valium said:
erttheking said:
For example, in the Hunger Games book, Katniss was described as having olive skin. The casting for her character flat out called for "should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone ?underfed but strong,? and ?naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness."
as someone from a family with a lot of white people with olive skin, I fail to see your point exactly. unaware a lot of people in the united states are descended from european immigrants?
Simple really.

The person that they got to play Katniss in the movie wasn't olive skinned. They decided that was too dark and wanted someone with lighter skin.

Frankly it's kind of sad considering that olive skin can hardly be noticed and Hollywood declared that Hunger Games need "white" white people.

Hollywood is frankly just pathetic.

Doesn't help that on the Fitzpatrick scale, olive skinned falls under "Moderately brown."
 

Erttheking

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valium said:
erttheking said:
valium said:
erttheking said:
For example, in the Hunger Games book, Katniss was described as having olive skin. The casting for her character flat out called for "should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone ?underfed but strong,? and ?naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness."
as someone from a family with a lot of white people with olive skin, I fail to see your point exactly. unaware a lot of people in the united states are descended from european immigrants?
Simple really.

The person that they got to play Katniss in the movie wasn't olive skinned. They decided that was too dark and wanted someone with lighter skin.

Frankly it's kind of sad considering that olive skin can hardly be noticed and Hollywood declared that Hunger Games need "white" white people.

Hollywood is frankly just pathetic.

Doesn't help that on the Fitzpatrick scale, olive skinned falls under "Moderately brown."
so the best actor they found to play the character was not the right kind of white person? is that what you are implying?
No, because really olive skinned isn't white. I checked and it turns out that people with olive skin tend to live in Latin America. In other words, they're Latino. They got a white actor to play a Latino character, or at least someone with the same shade of skin as a Latino character.

http://www.google.com/books?id=fewKcicENJYC&pg=PA234&dq=olive+skin+mediterranean&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GUHYU5_mA4aOyAT7rYEo&ved=0CCEQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=olive%20skin%20mediterranean&f=false

EDIT: Could also be Mediterranean.

And no it isn't racist. On the Fitzpatrick scale, Caucasian is a 2 or 3. Olive skinned is 4 or 5. The character was white washed, pure and simple. Minor white washing? Maybe. Still white washing.
 

Waterz

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As someone who's obsessed with GITS and The Major I thought I'd share the horror I already posted when an article about this came up on my news feed, so here goes...

Scarlett as the Major? Definitely a subpar choice but seeing as it's not a natural body and would be based off of the Majors own aesthetic preferences it might be understandable. If this indicates though that it's set outside Japan and in the west then I have almost no hope for a good adaptation. For me Shinto animist beliefs are a vital part of the context, while the franchise avoids being overtly supernatural most of the time I think it's often meant to be inferred as what drives a lot of what happens. The idea that a much wider range of things can have souls provides extremely important context that's not there when you transfer it to the west and it's so easy to foresee this being a generic "rogue AI" story (assuming it's an adaptation of the film) which kind of misses the point of GITS completely. I just know they're going to take the iconic tank designs and all the sci fi stuff and make an action film while either avoiding, barely touching upon or completely missing the point of the religion, philosophy and politics that's meant to be the emphasis of the franchise.

I can't see this ending well. I think it's almost impossible for any of the elements that make the franchise so special to actually make it into the film with studio executive pressure. At best I see this as possibly being a good sci fi action film almost unrelated to the source material. Realistically though I expect that it's going to be a horribly pretentious film that tries to explore the same things that the series does but fails miserably because of changes to try and broaden the appeal. Even if the person adapting it manages to nail it I can't see it getting through rewrites without losing the elements that make the franchise so special. This film is just not at all suitable for a big money Hollywood remake since the budget will demand that it appeal to such a wide audience that it's either going to be unrelated and possibly good or try to hit the same notes fail and flop.

Ok now addressing the actual article... I think intersectional feminism while coming from the right place doesn't really offer any equitable solutions to this issue. The fight you're taking up is essentially meaningless and won't dramatically increase the rate at which these issues are going to be solved. The increasingly global world will eventually allow for the representation that you all want protesting Hollywood casting decisions on the basis of race representation is going to do almost nothing. When you see how much the growing Chinese middle class is spending at theaters and realize that before long the two markets are probably going to merge to lower overheads for mega budget films (I mean there was already some of that with the transformers series) it'll start to grow clear that the issue of under-representation of Asians within films will start to solve itself. As for other minorities this might take significantly longer but really with the quality of a lot of the films produced by the big studios it's almost a favor.

If you want change the people you should be starting with if you want better representation of different groups isn't so much the actors as the film makers themselves. You can't really pressure filmmakers to write things they don't know about or don't care about, I mean we all know that the studio executives get a big say on a lot of whats going to happen in films even against the creative vision of the people making the film, but pressuring them include minorities is just going to result in tokens and caricatures. If you care about these stories I'm sure you can find plenty of kickstarter's or indiegogo's by people who do want to tell those stories even if they won't have as much of a broad appeal but if enough of them are successful then you'll start seeing more of those voices getting into the big studios and then as a result you'll start getting better representation on the screen too.

I absolutely adore ghost in the shell and there's pretty much no chance this film is going to be faithful to the original, actually good and successful at the same time. This is going to be horrific and having an Asian actress in the Majors role would actually probably be horrible for your cause since this thing is almost certainly going to flop and the blame might be assigned to that instead of the horrific writing that's going to be the real problem. Maybe you should just consider this a dodged bullet. Look at the creative staff and tell me that this has any chance of going well... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219827/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr
 

Tsun Tzu

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Carly. Stahp. Pls.

Anywho!

Already posted my feelings about this in the original article announcing her getting the role.

I'm not fond of the decision and will likely spend viewing time completely knocked out of immersion just because I'll constantly be seeing her as...well, ScarJo.

She isn't The Major. She's ScarJo.

It's the same deal with, say George Clooney (Hey, look, George Clooney's an astronaut) or Samuel Jackson (Sam Jackson's a Jedi, nifty) in a role. If an actor is so big and saturated throughout media, then I just see the actor and not the character, to the detriment of the film/immersion. Granted, sometimes, I can get past it, if the performance is amazing, but it's a big damned hurdle.

I'm going to have to echo the sentiment from some posters...I'd have preferred Rinko, if she was even interested in the role to begin with anyway. If not? Eh. ScarJo certainly isn't bad. *shrug*

The movie, however, is likely to be quite awful, what with the assembled 'talent' and all.

We're probably looking at another Aeon Flux. Joy of joys.
T_ConX said:
If you're still salty about ScarJo playing the Major, then I suggest you go hang out with the dudes who are still angry over Idris Elba playing a Norse God.
I was never "angry" over that, but I feel much the same way about that particular instance that I do about this one.

If a character is X race or Y gender, then I'm of the mind that they should be represented as such, in the interest of reflecting said character as best as possible. This goes for any race/gender/whatever. I don't care about that nonsense.

With that said, Idris did a fine job. I actually quite liked him in the role, as he does the somber guardian schtick very well...but it still irks me just on the "it's not as close of a representation as possible" level.
 

Erttheking

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valium said:
erttheking said:
valium said:
erttheking said:
valium said:
erttheking said:
For example, in the Hunger Games book, Katniss was described as having olive skin. The casting for her character flat out called for "should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone ?underfed but strong,? and ?naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness."
as someone from a family with a lot of white people with olive skin, I fail to see your point exactly. unaware a lot of people in the united states are descended from european immigrants?
Simple really.

The person that they got to play Katniss in the movie wasn't olive skinned. They decided that was too dark and wanted someone with lighter skin.

Frankly it's kind of sad considering that olive skin can hardly be noticed and Hollywood declared that Hunger Games need "white" white people.

Hollywood is frankly just pathetic.

Doesn't help that on the Fitzpatrick scale, olive skinned falls under "Moderately brown."
so the best actor they found to play the character was not the right kind of white person? is that what you are implying?
No, because really olive skinned isn't white. I checked and it turns out that people with olive skin tend to live in Latin America. In other words, they're Latino. They got a white actor to play a Latino character, or at least someone with the same shade of skin as a Latino character.

http://www.google.com/books?id=fewKcicENJYC&pg=PA234&dq=olive+skin+mediterranean&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GUHYU5_mA4aOyAT7rYEo&ved=0CCEQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=olive%20skin%20mediterranean&f=false

EDIT: Could also be Mediterranean.
and a lot of those who live in the mediterranean area can be considered white. such as southern france in the pyrenees, where my mother's side of the family comes from, or towards the italian border. olive skinned white people. also a lot of white people mixed with native american which comes out to olive skin in the appalachian mountains general area. I come from both.
That's interesting. It doesn't change the fact that the actor hired to play Katniss is clearly none of these things. Caucasian and olive skinned were very different things. It would've been one thing if it had been an open audition and they just decided that that the one that they got was the best for the roll, but actors with olive skin didn't even get to try.

Frankly it feels like they did something on par with putting up INNA.
 

nightmare_gorilla

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I've heard this complaint many times that modern or "3rd wave" feminism is mostly wealthy white women who do not care about the problems of black or Asian women. I remember black feminists have repeatedly taken issue with lena dunham only to be shot down by white feminists. to me it speaks to why humanism is a better idea as it removes the concept of gender or race and just presses us to be decent people to other people we meet.

As for the issue itself, SJ as kusinagi? I can see why people would be mad about it, I also don't see the difference between taking her and making her white vs taking human torch and making him black. honestly most of the time it's just being done to stir up hype and use outrage to promote a film for free rather than for any ideological reasons.

in the end i think it's an issue with perseption right as oposed to how people really feel. you get one of these marketers or "by the numbers" film makers and decisions like this are basically ticking a box on a checklist. I picture some giant jackass in a board room with slicked back hair and a cigar going "what do the kids like these days? that japanimation stuff right? they also like that chick from the marvel movies. brilliant!" this decision is someone saying "hey i'm not the reason this movie sucks i put scarlet johansen in it she makes money so the movie SHOULD have made money and i can't be held accountable if it doesn't" the americanization seems to be more so so old white producers can wrap their head around the concept. i hate using terms like that but the voting members of either the emmys or the acadamy awards, one of those awards shows, the median age is 88 and they are all white men. i'm not into diversity quotas but that is some bullshit.

I for one DO think it's a poor choice. but i also agree most live action adaptations of anime tend to suck and moreso than just being bad they are unnecisary, no way are they going to cram into one movie everything you love about a character from a 50+ episode series. you like it? great go watch the anime again, or make more episodes of it, but i mean how long did it take AMERICAN movies to understand what makes AMERICAN comic book characters so great? you really think the king of all egomaniacs hollywood is going to understand something from another culture?
 

Gordon_4_v1legacy

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Rellik San said:
Here's another question:

Other than character names, what is there about GitS and it's setting that is actually uniquely Japanese?

Because I'm seeing a lot of people bark about how GitS is such a Japanese show and it could only Japanese and I'm thinking to myself: "Have you people ever read William Gibson or Phillip K. Dick?"
A lot of the social, economic and military politics involved in both seasons of Stand Alone Complex are as I understand them rather rooted in parallels to the same of real life Japan at the time of creation. These may have changed in the decade or so since the show was made obviously. And it becomes a plot point when the Major has to operate outside of her own country where she has basically no authority. The sci-fi stuff is lifted right from the classics though.


Personally, I'm disappointed but I'll be far more disappointed if the choose to use Mamoru Isshi's movie as their base template because while it is itself one of the classics, after watching SaC I think it's boring and takes some of the cheeky fun out of Motoko's character. Plus I loved the Tachikomas


You know what though, if I was going to adapt an Anime, I'd be doing Gunsmith Cats!



A gun toting bounty hunter chick, her grenade mad buddy, a Shelby Cobra GT-500 and a gun shop. And all based in the Windy City, this would have been piss-easy and have none of the complaints. And for fun and profit; ScarJo could play Natasha Rednov