Dreamworks' Ghost in the Shell Film Casts Sam Riley as Villain

posted on by Karen Ressler
Riley joins Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk

Entertainment news website Variety reported on Tuesday that Sam Riley (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) will play the villain in Dreamworks and Paramount's live-action Ghost in the Shell film project.

Riley joins Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Lucy, Lost in Translation), who is starring in the film, and Pilou Asbæk (Lucy), who plays Batou.

Variety's most recent description of the film's story is:

The story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime.

Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) has signed on to direct the film. Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton) is reworking the earlier drafts of the script written by William Wheeler (Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) and Jamie Moss (Street Kings). Deadline reported earlier this year that Johansson was offered US$10 million for the lead role.

Dreamworks and Paramount are co-financing and co-producing the film. Paramount will handle the international release of the film and Dreamworks will handle the release per its original deal with Disney.

The film is set to open on March 31, 2017. Filming will begin in Wellington, New Zealand in January 2016.

Disney initially scheduled its release of the live-action film for April 14, 2017, but announced its plans to push forward the release in April. Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner has been distributing Dreamworks films since 2009.

The anime studio Production I.G pitched the rights for Masamune Shirow's original cyber-police manga on behalf of the manga's publisher Kodansha in 2007, and DreamWorks acquired the live-action film rights in 2008. 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.

The American arm of 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 Mamoru Oshii's two anime 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 with its own tie-in feature film release and television broadcast. (Dreamworks distributed Oshii's second film in North America.)

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