April 18, 2016


Max Landis Tries to Explain How the Film Industry Works

Controversy erupted when it was revealed that actress Scarlett Johansson would play the lead in the live-action adaptation of the anime Ghost in the Shell

Johansson, a white actress, plays Major Motoko Kusanagi, an Asian character in the film. Even more outrage was sparked when it was suggested that Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks looked to special effects company Lola to attempt to “shift the ethnicity” of Johansson.

Screenwriter Max Landis, who has worked on American Ultra and the film adaptation of Frankenstein, spoke out to say that the anger is being inappropriately directed. He uploaded a video to YouTube titled “If You’re Mad About Ghost In The Shell You Don’t Know How The Movie Industry Works,” which is an attempt to explain that there are no marketable Asian actresses who have enough of a celebrity pull to bring in viewers. 

“If you’re mad about this, you should be.” Landis concludes. “But you shouldn’t be mad at any one person, you should be mad at a system.”

While Landis attempts to map out a structural issue affecting the film industry, he falls short by not acknowledging contemporary Asian actresses who actually could have played the role and do have the audience pull. One example is Rinko Kikuchi, a Japanese actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Babel, and who recently starred in Guillermo Del Toro’s successful live-action film Pacific Rim

Watch the clip above and check out the report on anime adaptation.