From Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange to Scarlet Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, 2016 has seen a handful of white actors get cast in roles originally depicted as Asian. Whitewashing reached a new high these year, with multiple film and TV projects failing to represent Asian characters, and fans aren’t happy. Social media campaigns and online petitions have sprung up in response calling out Hollywood for continuing to erase Asian faces from screens.
Ghost in the Shell
December is officially upon us, and so is year-end list-making season. We’re kicking things off by looking backwards and forwards: By ranking the finest teasers, trailers, and coming attractions of 2016. To qualify, only the trailer had to be released in this calendar year; you’ll see trailers below for movies that haven’t even been released yet and can’t be judged next to the films they represent. That’s as it should be; beyond their function as pieces of advertising, trailers should stand alone, as bite-sized entertainments and even, in a few rare occasions, as works of art. Here are the ten trailers of 2016 (plus a few honorable mentions) that came closest to that lofty ideal.
After 25 years as an influential force in popular culture, the Japanese manga and anime Ghost in the Shell is headed to American theaters in the spring of 2017. Scarlett Johansson stars in the film and, if its first trailer is any indication, the movie is not shying away from its source material’s wild, imaginative visuals. But how does the Ghost in the Shell live-action film, directed by Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders, compare with the classic anime version, directed by Mamoru Oshii? To find out, check out the trailer above, which takes the audio from the new Ghost in the Shell trailer and pairs it with visuals from the old cartoon. In our opinion, it’s an impressive match. It’s no easy feat to translate wild animated imagery into live-action, but, at least so far, Ghost in the Shell seems to have done it.
This past weekend, Paramount Pictures kicked off the publicity tour for its upcoming Ghost in the Shell adaptation with a global launch party in Tokyo. Cast and crew were on hand to talk about the film; exhibitions of the film’s art and costume designs were on display for those in attendance. For the rest of us, something even better was announce: the first theatrical trailer for Ghost in the Shell is here, and it is not exactly short on style.
Back when the Ghost in the Shell casting news was announced, people were understandably confused that Scarlett Johansson would be playing a character whose origins and race, as far as we all knew, were Japanese. Despite protests, production on the movie ensued, and we got our first look at the anime adaptation in a few short teasers a few weeks ago. Now, the director of the original animated Ghost in the Shell films, Mamoru Oshii, has visited the set and seen everything for himself, and it sounds like he’s not upset at all about Johansson’s casting.
Following yesterday’s premiere of the intriguing teaser for the full Ghost in the Shell trailer (debuting on November 13), a new video from the set of the live-action adaptation has arrived online. It doesn’t reveal much in the way of new footage, but it does feature a quick, charming interview with Scarlett Johansson, who offers a sneak peek at one of the film’s many action sequences.
I don’t know exactly what is happening in this teaser for the new Ghost in the Shell trailer, but it’s really, really, really rad. It looks like Scarlett Johansson is a Terminator exiting the Matrix — now there’s a movie idea we can all get behind. My weird film fantasies aside, this short sneak peek at the live-action Ghost in the Shell adaptation definitely accomplishes its mission: We can’t wait to see the full trailer.
Last Thursday night, Paramount gathered press in New York for a special presentation on the studio’s upcoming projects. Nestled between the sizzle reels for Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited Silence and Denzel Washington’s buzzy Fences adaptation was an extended look at their upcoming rework of seminal anime Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson in a range-stretching performance as an Asian robot. (Both Asian cultural watchdog groups and more principled robots have expressed objections to this, but that’s neither here nor there.) Paramount’s stoking the fires of anticipation for their prospective early-spring blockbuster before its March 31 release next year, and a new piece from Collider should only raise the temperature higher.
Remember the good old days of the movie trailer? How about the movie teasers? Remember just a handful of months ago when movie trailers got their own pre-trailers? Psh who needs any of that when you can release five mini teasers and slap ‘em all together to make one giant teaser?!
Movies like Ghost in the Shell are what make me glad I’m not a box office prognosticator. On the one hand, the movie is a blockbuster adaptation of the popular Japanese manga that stars one of the most bankable international movie stars; on the other hand, we’re still six-plus months away from the film’s release date and it has already generated more negative publicity than an entire season’s worth of summer movies. Good luck figuring out those leading indicators, experts!