Pilou Asbaek (Lucy, Game Of Thrones) was cast as Batou, Major Matoko Kusanagi's right hand man, for Dreamworks' Ghost In The Shell. He's European. He's not American. He's not Asian and gosh darn it he's white. Get over it!
Steve Wright at SciFiNow had this to say, "While it is a decent bit of casting---we're sure Asbaek will be great---it does however represent the second case of a white actor being cast in the film based on such a classic Japanese story." Racism will never die.
What these writers with agendas basically say is: Well, he's talented. He'll be great, but he's white. What!
Don't give me Ghost In The Shell is a Japanese film. Batou is a hulking, strapping white fellow with blonde/white hair in the Oshii animated classic.
Days later when it was reported Sam Riley (Maleficent) would be set to play The Laughing Man, a faceless cyber enemy, which never came to pass by the way, SciFiNow concluded its reporting with "yet to see any non-white actors cast. Hmm." Laughable alright!
Ultimately, it turned out Michael Pitt (Hannibal) was cast to play The Laughing Man. Unfortunately Pitt is white too! Damn these white people! The fact he is an excellent performer is actually meaningless when it comes to perceived racial requirements.
In a refreshing turn Otaku USA, via Deadline, via Crunchyroll, reported the casting news sans racial commentary. Imagine a world where journalists reported news without injecting their own racial biases? Now that would be quality journalism and a marked move forward rather than the backward of recent years.
Can we stop with racism? I don't think so. Too many people turn to it to power an argument. Can DreamWorks cast and make its film to be judged on its own merits? Media bias and betrayal of news reporting with an agenda has been a harmful development in the 21st Century.
Is Ghost In The Shell, given Asbaek and Johansson's involvement together previously in Lucy, going to be nothing more than Lucy reimagined? Maybe. Or will we get something much more (with white people)? Maybe.
The racial trends are troubling. And reassurance by the film's producer, Steven Paul, on July 3rd 2016, that the film is shooting for an "international" flavor are hardly enough. Steven don't you know International and Asian are hardly the same thing. Gosh already. So yes, cries of whitewashing continue. To offer an example: "And how exactly is this whole global approach suppose to change anything? The main character is still white, you're still whitewashing. This doesn't change anything. This movie is still going to be a clusterfuck and I am going to boycot it." Now that's a perfectly rational approach to a film you haven't seen. Oh and by the way, Boycott is with two "t"s.
And in case you didn't know, and you may not, because it was not widely reported or whined about, but Tokyo born "Beat" Takeshi Kitano (Outrage) was cast as Daisuke Aramaki. He's Asian! Where is the outrage there? That's right there wasn't any. But where is the celebration? Truthfully it doesn't matter. And he'll be great. He'll be Asian and we don't need to hear about race on these films anymore. It's not about the right race, but the right casting. It's just just another disturbing trend.
Meanwhile, Mamoru Oshii himself has visited the film set of Ghost In The Shell either with a full endorsement, approval or to ensure monies are allocated to the correct accounts. Composer Kenji Kawai was in tow as well. Excitement is certainly building with the Japanese and others despite cries of whitewashing. Apparently Oshii and Kawai didn't get the memo or aren't the least bit offended themselves.
But I mean it, you don't like something, go make your own movie. I see fan films all the time and they are excellent.
Ishiro Honda made Gojira in 1954. Honda is dead. Adaptations on that character and Honda's initial ideas have flourished over decades by different directors and different countries. Some good. Some bad. You always have the originals. You always have some of the greats alongside some of the stinkers, but Godzilla endures.
Would it be too much to ask for the allowance of artistic interpretations on a property like Ghost In The Shell? Would that original property not survive and endure anyway? Of course it could and it will.