Variety: Scarlett Johansson Signs on to Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell
posted on by Karen Ressler
Entertainment news source Variety reported on Monday that Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in Dreamworks' adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. Deadline reported in October that the actress was offered the role, but she was still undecided at the time.
The film has not yet been greenlit for production, but Variety notes that Johansson's involvement should make production more likely.
Deadline noted previously that Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) would direct the proposed Ghost in the Shell film off a script by William Wheeler (Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist). Avi Arad (formerly of Marvel Studios as well as of the Spider-Man and X-Men movie franchises), Seaside Entertainment's Steven Paul, and Mark Sourian (The Ring Two) are producing.
Variety reported in 2008 that Universal and Sony also negotiated for the rights, which the Production I.G anime studio was pitching for the manga's original publisher Kodansha. What turned the dealmaking in DreamWorks' favor was co-founder Steven Spielberg's enthusiasm for the project. The entertainment trade newspaper quotes the acclaimed director and producer: "Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite stories. It's a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks."
The American arm of the manga's original Japanese publisher Kodansha began reprinting the manga in 2009, after Dark Horse Comics had the license. Kodansha also launched two new manga series based on director Kenji Kamiyama's Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex television anime series that year. In addition to Oshii's two films and Kamiyama's two Stand Alone Complex television series and spinoff feature, Shirow's manga also inspired the recent Ghost in the Shell Arise prequel anime.
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