Controversial Scarlett Johansson film, ‘Ghost in the Shell’, shooting in Hong Kong next week

The live-action feature film adaptation of beloved Japanese anime “Ghost in the Shell” will be filming in Hong Kong next week, apparently. 

A notice from October Pictures Limited, shared on Facebook by Fallout Media director Edwin Lee, states that vehicular access to Pak Hoi Street in Yau Ma Tei and Woosung Street in Jordan will be restricted during filming on June 7, 8, and 10 (with June 14 to 16 listed as “fallback dates”).

Unfortunately for ScarJo’s Hong Kong fans (we can think of at least one), production staff told HK Magazine that only body doubles would be present on the Hong Kong shoots.

“Ghost in the Shell”, which follows a counter-cyberterrorist organisation led by the humanoid cyborg Major Kusanagi, was adapted into a critically-acclaimed animated film by in 1995.

While the film wasn’t set in Hong Kong, director Mamoru Oshii modelled the fictional futuristic setting on real Hong Kong locations. (The resemblance is uncanny: check out a side-by-side comparison of Oshii’s shots with Edwin Lee’s footage of Hong Kong here.)

Despite the anime’s popularity, much of the publicity surrounding the live-action production of “Ghost in the Shell” has focused on Scarlett Johansson’s role as Kusanagi, a casting choice which thousands have decried as “whitewashing”.

Last week, Japanese actress and model Rila Fukushima was confirmed to have joined the cast in an as-yet-unannounced role. Between Fukushima’s casting and the choice to film location shots in Hong Kong, it seems like a lot of effort is going into making everything except the lead character authentic.

And no, (allegedly) testing out special effects to make ScarJo look more Asian doesn’t count.


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