Back in October, it was reported that ‘Lucy’ and ‘Avengers 2’ star Scarlett Johansson had been offered $10 million to anchor the new, American (and live-action) version of the classic Japanese anime ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ It took a while for Johansson to decide (“Hm, do I really want $10 million? This is a tough one!”), but Variety now says she’s made up her mind: Johansson will star in the new ‘Ghost’ for director Rupert Sanders.
The venerated sci-fi franchise began life as a manga by Masamune Shirow, followed by a beloved animated adaptation in 1995, directed by Mamoru Oshii (a sequel followed in 2004). As Variety tells it, this version will follow “the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime.” After Sanders signed on to direct, rumors had ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ star Margot Robbie in contention for the lead role. But with Robbie off making ‘Suicide Squad’ instead, the opportunity fell to Johansson.
The history of Hollywood adaptations of anime has been slim and underwhelming so far (you coulda been a contenduh, ‘Aeon Flux’). But Johansson is coming off one of the hottest streaks of her career: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ ‘Lucy,’ and the incredible ‘Under the Skin’ all in the span of just a few months. With her resume, she has her pick of projects, and if her pick is ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ then it must be a promising film. (Or, y’know, she just wanted the $10 million.)