'Snow White and the Huntsman' director Rupert Sanders, who is helming the long awaited adaptation of the hit manga due in cinemas next year, explained his rationale for casting Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of the Major. At an on-stage interview at a Tokyo event promoting the trailer's debut, the British filmmaker said that, 'I think whenever you cast someone someone’s going to be critical about it,' and praised Johansson as one of the best actresses of her generation. He also praised her ability to provide humanity to a mechanical character.

Was GitS whitewashed?

Hollywood has been facing a backlash in the last few years, due to a perception of there being a lack of prominent roles for ethnic minorities.

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These have lead to backlash against productions like 'Doctor Strange' (Tilda Swinton), 'Pan' (Rooney Mara), 'The Lone Ranger' (Johnny Depp) and most famously, the #OscarssoWhite hashtag against the 2016 Oscars. However, producer Steven Paul fired back, saying that '(the film) was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese,' arguing that an international, multicultural approach was the correct path for the project. Over in Japan, fans of the franchise expressed surprise over the controversy, with many saying they assumed that the American production would cast a white actress.

In spite of whitewash claims, the film will debut 2017

GitS will arrive in theaters, on March 31, from Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures. Disney would've distributed the film, but in 2015, did not renew its contract with Dreamworks and so the rights passed over fully to co-distributor Paramount.

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The film's screenplay went through multiple writers, including Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder, Terminator Genisys), Jamie Moss (Street Kings, Spectral), William Wheeler (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Queen of Katwe) and Johnathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), with only Moss and Herman getting final credit on the project. Sanders described the film, and the Major, as 'kind of a coming of age story', dealing with questions of a person's worth, identity and morality. #Ghost in the Shell #Scarlett Johansson