Ghost in the Shelf (2017)

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Ghost in the Shelf (2017)

Postby Mambrino » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:08 am UTC

Welp so I found about that this is a thing just a moment ago.

Starring Scarlett Johansson as The Major. According to IMDB / Wikipedia, other casting choices are combination of Western and Asian actors. Apparently the rest of the Section 9: Pilou Asbæk as Batou, Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki, China Han as Togusa, and Lasarus Ratuere as Ishikawa.

More teaser trailers.

Calling this version an anime is stretching the definition of "anime", so I'm making a new thread instead of posting to the anime thread.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:24 am UTC

Irrespective of the whole inevitable Internet kerfuffle over the casting of white people as nominally Japanese characters...there's just no reason for this to exist in the first place. As far as I know, there's never been an American adaptation of a manga/anime that wasn't completely terrible, and while I'm sure it's possible for that trend to break, I sure wouldn't bet on it happening under the banner of Dreamworks (or, really, in the current US film industry at all.)
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Mambrino » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:30 am UTC

I agree that a failure is likely, but I also confess that I'm intrigued. ...I'll wait for the reviews before deciding if I'm going to see it.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:34 am UTC

This reminds me when Miss Japan, who was of mainly African features as she had a Japanese mother and an African American father, was told while she grew up in Japan (she grew there, she speaks Japanese and really shitty English) that she was not really Japanese. Apparently being Japanese is not a nationality but just a racial association.

There's no reason why The Major couldn't be a western actor, given that her depiction wasn't strictly Asian. Ghost in the Shell also showed a far more racially diverse Japan than what it is now. That is the least of people's worries when it comes to anime/manga adaptation.

The real problem will be with Hollywood's treatment of the series' signature geopolitics and philosophical musings.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:37 am UTC

I had a long post written out, but it just boiled down to 'wait and see'.

These days you can't even really trust trailers most of the time.

from what I can tell, it looks like the writers and the director don't really have that many credits, and the producers are a mixed bag. My best guess is that it'll be ambitious, with lots of good ideas, but will lack in the execution. But that could still describe a pretty wide spectrum of quality.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby charliepanayi » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:01 am UTC

They made a rod for their own backs here with casting Scarlett Johansson. They should have taken the Edge of Tomorrow approach and just set the story somewhere else if they wanted to do that.

Anyway Hollywood should probably stick to indirect remakes of anime/manga, the results there tend to be a lot better - Chronicle, Inception, Black Swan, Firefly/Serenity
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Flumble » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:23 pm UTC

If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).

What I'm really saying is: I'd like a new GitS film that one-ups Innocence. :mrgreen: (or maybe I should start watching all the series and the rest of the films)
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:09 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:There's no reason why The Major couldn't be a western actor, given that her depiction wasn't strictly Asian. Ghost in the Shell also showed a far more racially diverse Japan than what it is now. That is the least of people's worries when it comes to anime/manga adaptation.

As usual, the argument isn't that Scarlett Johansson isn't a great actress (she is), it's that this is yet another opportunity for non-white actors to play a role generally written for non-white people, and it's taken away from them. I mean, the studios even considered making the white actors look less white.

Hollywood is unoriginal enough as-is, but taking a story written by one culture and warping it to white culture is a modern type of colonialism...
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby natraj » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:22 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:This reminds me when Miss Japan, who was of mainly African features as she had a Japanese mother and an African American father, was told while she grew up in Japan (she grew there, she speaks Japanese and really shitty English) that she was not really Japanese. Apparently being Japanese is not a nationality but just a racial association.


... miss japan is japanese. scarlett johansson is not. these two situations aren't comparable. the reason miss japan was told she was not japanese was blatant and staggering anti-black racism; these situations are not remotely comparable. the fact you think these things have even the slightest bearing on each other shows a stunning lack of grasp on societal dynamics.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:09 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:Irrespective of the whole inevitable Internet kerfuffle over the casting of white people as nominally Japanese characters...there's just no reason for this to exist in the first place. As far as I know, there's never been an American adaptation of a manga/anime that wasn't completely terrible, and while I'm sure it's possible for that trend to break, I sure wouldn't bet on it happening under the banner of Dreamworks (or, really, in the current US film industry at all.)


* Edge of Tomorrow (2014) -- Light Novel adaptation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_You_Need_Is_Kill
* Pacific Rim -- Adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion. (Almost worked, but the rights didn't get transferred over at the right time)

charliepanayi wrote:They made a rod for their own backs here with casting Scarlett Johansson. They should have taken the Edge of Tomorrow approach and just set the story somewhere else if they wanted to do that.

Anyway Hollywood should probably stick to indirect remakes of anime/manga, the results there tend to be a lot better - Chronicle, Inception, Black Swan, Firefly/Serenity


But yeah, the approach where the directors just take similar themes with an anime (ie: Inception vs Paprika, Firefly/Serenity vs Outlaw Star) gives the directors / scriptwriters more flexibility. Fans of say... Outlaw Star get the references and are happy to see similarities. (Aside from the "gang of outlaws" and "girl in a box", Firefly is basically its own thing. But fans enjoy the similarities while appreciating the differences)

Compared to say... Dragon Ball Evolution, where fans see everything "wrong" and bitch about the mistakes. Not that DB Evolution was a good movie or anything. But if you do a direct adaptation, you have basically no room for creativity. So much was bad about the movie, but a lot of the complaints are along the lines of "Piccolo never had an assistant" or other inaccuracies in the movie portrayal (Where's Krillin?). Basically, fans expect the similarities and bitch about the differences.

BTW: Rumor is that "Lucy" was an adaptation of Elfin Lied. (Vulnerable Psychic Girl named "Lucy" is abused and then goes apeshit on her captors), just for one more "loosely anime-related story made by Hollywood"
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:57 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Lucrece wrote:This reminds me when Miss Japan, who was of mainly African features as she had a Japanese mother and an African American father, was told while she grew up in Japan (she grew there, she speaks Japanese and really shitty English) that she was not really Japanese. Apparently being Japanese is not a nationality but just a racial association.


... miss japan is japanese. scarlett johansson is not. these two situations aren't comparable. the reason miss japan was told she was not japanese was blatant and staggering anti-black racism; these situations are not remotely comparable. the fact you think these things have even the slightest bearing on each other shows a stunning lack of grasp on societal dynamics.



English actors play American actors and vice versa all the time. Idris Elba has played the part of historical African Americans, when he isn't even American.

The point is that nationality is not a race, especially in some sci-fi globalized society. It's a shitty essentialist argument where people would be aghast if the reverse suggestion of whenever an American is cast, it should be a white guy because demographically it's associated with white people. Saying someone is Japanese is not the same as saying someone is belonging to a certain racial category, especially when the series made no effort to delineate The Major's racial background, and it has actually often messed with her looks outside her signature hairstyle and color. Her body isn't even her original one, just one of several synthetic ones she's had (thus the series name).

Zohar wrote:
Lucrece wrote:There's no reason why The Major couldn't be a western actor, given that her depiction wasn't strictly Asian. Ghost in the Shell also showed a far more racially diverse Japan than what it is now. That is the least of people's worries when it comes to anime/manga adaptation.

As usual, the argument isn't that Scarlett Johansson isn't a great actress (she is), it's that this is yet another opportunity for non-white actors to play a role generally written for non-white people, and it's taken away from them. I mean, the studios even considered making the white actors look less white.

Hollywood is unoriginal enough as-is, but taking a story written by one culture and warping it to white culture is a modern type of colonialism...


I didn't say Johansson was a great actress. I'm actually not fond of her work, and my issue with her casting is less her race and more the fact that she simply does not ring to me as Motoko. Her hue of hair color is signature to her, her eye color is wrong, and her face profile is stern (which Johansson simply does not pull off).

I always wondered why they didn't look to cast established Asian action genre actors like Lucy Liu if they wanted to avoid flak and still bring a known, bankable actress. But then we'd trade one problem for another as we'd have a Chinese actress covering that of a Japanese one like Memoirs of a Geisha (which I found to be a great movie regardless).
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:19 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:English actors play American actors and vice versa all the time. Idris Elba has played the part of historical African Americans, when he isn't even American.


Except there isn't a history of oppression of Americans by the English or vice versa. It is, again, not the same thing. And the fact some Japanese people are racist towards Black-Japanese doesn't give other people permission to be racist back at Japanese people in general.

It would be amazing if white guys regularly lost roles to actors of color! How upset were people at Nick Fury being black? It's pretty much the accepted standard for him now.

When you take someone from the "white character" pool and transfer them to the "Asian character" pool, you're decreasing the white pool by maybe 0.1%. When you do the reverse, you're decreasing the the Asian character pool by, perhaps, %50 (how many American blockbusters in the past year have an Asian actor/actress in leading role?) And please, Major Motoko Kusanagi, who's drawn as Asian, whose filmmakers thought of making more explicitly Asian in the movie we're talking about, whose story is perhaps in a fictionalized near-future but is consumed by people in our present-day culture, is Asian.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Mutex » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:23 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).


That link probably needs an NSFW warning. And yeah, sadly I don't think Scarlett Johansson would be up for filming a scene like that, and I expect the film will be PG-13.

The TV series toned down the characters sexuality somewhat, particularly in the second season. Frankly I liked the fact she actually wore clothes in the series because I felt the sexual stuff detracted from the plot a lot of the time... it just felt unnecessary.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:48 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:* Edge of Tomorrow (2014) -- Light Novel adaptation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_You_Need_Is_Kill
* Pacific Rim -- Adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion. (Almost worked, but the rights didn't get transferred over at the right time)

Okay, I'll hold off on a verdict for Edge of Tomorrow as I've neither seen the movie nor read the source material, but I'd definitely class Pacific Rim in the "anime-inspired original work" category like Firefly and so on. While they might've initially intended to do an Evangelion adaptation, the two have very little in common besides the mecha-vs.-kaiju premise and the emphasis on the psychological side of things (though their handling of that is extremely different.)
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:39 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Lucrece wrote:English actors play American actors and vice versa all the time. Idris Elba has played the part of historical African Americans, when he isn't even American.


Except there isn't a history of oppression of Americans by the English.


:?

Besides that bit, you're missing the point of that example. Which is to say that the fact that Idris Elba isn't an American of African descent doesn't disqualify him from playing one any more than a foreign white person from playing a Japanese person who may be white.

If we applied such standards around placing special cases in casting based on histories of oppression, we wouldn't get Pakistani actors playing the roles of Hindus or vice versa, which has already happened plenty of times. We wouldn't have Israelis being cast as arabs in film, either.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:47 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Flumble wrote:If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).


That link probably needs an NSFW warning. And yeah, sadly I don't think Scarlett Johansson would be up for filming a scene like that, and I expect the film will be PG-13.

The TV series toned down the characters sexuality somewhat, particularly in the second season. Frankly I liked the fact she actually wore clothes in the series because I felt the sexual stuff detracted from the plot a lot of the time... it just felt unnecessary.


A lot of anime comes from basically high-class porn / hentai.

Fate/Stay Night series is straight up porn for example, except it had such a good story that people started watching it not for the porn bits, but for the story bits. And now its a major series that stands on its own without any porn at all.

Ghost in a Shell basically starts off with mild erotica (nothing really porn: but the fact that the Major had to take off her clothes for her invisibility to work in the original shows the kind of sexual innuendos of the movie). They tone it down for the series because Ghost-in-a-shell turned out to be an awesome cyberpunk story.

Still, the sexual nature of the show are still there. Her costume through the first season is ridiculous, plus the strong lesbian plays makes it clear what the writers are going for.

I guess what I'm saying is... a lot of anime starts off with sex and violence as cheap ways to attract audiences. And naturally, as people become interested in the storyline and universe, the writers tone things down and begin to focus on story and worldbuilding. (Ex: The Major no longer has to be naked to be invisible. They found clothes that sync with her invisibility drive)
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:49 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Mutex wrote:
Flumble wrote:If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).


That link probably needs an NSFW warning. And yeah, sadly I don't think Scarlett Johansson would be up for filming a scene like that, and I expect the film will be PG-13.

The TV series toned down the characters sexuality somewhat, particularly in the second season. Frankly I liked the fact she actually wore clothes in the series because I felt the sexual stuff detracted from the plot a lot of the time... it just felt unnecessary.


A lot of anime comes from basically high-class porn / hentai.

Fate/Stay Night series is straight up porn for example, except it had such a good story that people started watching it not for the porn bits, but for the story bits. And now its a major series that stands on its own without any porn at all.

Ghost in a Shell basically starts off with mild erotica (nothing really porn: but the fact that the Major had to take off her clothes for her invisibility to work in the original shows the kind of sexual innuendos of the movie). They tone it down for the series because Ghost-in-a-shell turned out to be an awesome cyberpunk story.


The creator of the series himself plainly confessed that the reason he drew Motoko waking up from a tryst with a bunch of women in the series was because he preferred to draw and look at female asses than male ones.

It was straight up lesbian for straight men textbook example.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:57 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Mutex wrote:
Flumble wrote:If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).


That link probably needs an NSFW warning. And yeah, sadly I don't think Scarlett Johansson would be up for filming a scene like that, and I expect the film will be PG-13.

The TV series toned down the characters sexuality somewhat, particularly in the second season. Frankly I liked the fact she actually wore clothes in the series because I felt the sexual stuff detracted from the plot a lot of the time... it just felt unnecessary.


A lot of anime comes from basically high-class porn / hentai.

Fate/Stay Night series is straight up porn for example, except it had such a good story that people started watching it not for the porn bits, but for the story bits. And now its a major series that stands on its own without any porn at all.

Ghost in a Shell basically starts off with mild erotica (nothing really porn: but the fact that the Major had to take off her clothes for her invisibility to work in the original shows the kind of sexual innuendos of the movie). They tone it down for the series because Ghost-in-a-shell turned out to be an awesome cyberpunk story.


The creator of the series himself plainly confessed that the reason he drew Motoko waking up from a tryst with a bunch of women in the series was because he preferred to draw and look at female asses than male ones.

It was straight up lesbian for straight men textbook example.


Yup yup. I can agree with that if I remember the scene correctly.

I think the key to the erotica is to make sure enough story, awesomeness, and world-building shine through. Furthermore, stories with a sexual nature can touch upon deeper issues. (or sometimes, they won't. *cough* SAO *cough*).

If the cyborg erotica stuff were treated like Ex Machina (an android seeking to recreate the female form, depicted with a naked body on screen) and served to improve Motoko's character, I'll be cool with it. Depends on what they're going for, I have my doubts that Scarlet Johanson would actually want to be depicted in that manner though.

Its a mature series for mature audiences. Hollywood has virtually no limit when it comes to what they can do with this material. Sex it up to "Rated R"? Well, that's kinda how the original series was so yeah, that should be fine.

Tone it down and make a PG-13 movie with cybernetics / hacking / mechanical spiders? I'd be perfectly fine with this approach as well.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:11 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:
Zohar wrote:Except there isn't a history of oppression of Americans by the English.
:?

If you include "being ruled by" to count as oppressed then pretty much everyone in the entire world was oppressed by the British empire. Certainly Americans today don't generally claim to suffer from the past rule by the British, whereas African-Americans definitely do suffer from past oppression as well as continuing forms of oppression.

Besides that bit, you're missing the point of that example. Which is to say that the fact that Idris Elba isn't an American of African descent doesn't disqualify him from playing one any more than a foreign white person from playing a Japanese person who may be white.

If we applied such standards around placing special cases in casting based on histories of oppression, we wouldn't get Pakistani actors playing the roles of Hindus or vice versa, which has already happened plenty of times. We wouldn't have Israelis being cast as arabs in film, either.

I'm sorry, but I still don't get what your point is. Different groups of people can have complicated relations for reasons other than racism. So what? The problem, in this case, is rooted in racism. When people are (rightfully) upset at cis actors playing trans characters, it's not due to race either, should we not object? Also why do you assume people love it when Hindus and Pakistanis or Israelis and Arabs are interchangeable on TV?

At the most basic level, roles should not move from the small pool of opportunity available to minorities, to the one available to the most visible group on screen. Women's roles shouldn't be allocated to men. PoC's roles shouldn't be played by white people. Trans roles shouldn't be played by cis characters. It's not enough, but it's a beginning. And the exact opposite is happening here.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Mutex » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

KE: That makes sense, and yes she was still heavily sexualised in the first season.

One moment in the series that stands out in my mind, was when she was in the refugee town and looked after a refugee kid (about 12ish) who'd fallen in with some dangerous criminals. They go to a hotel and get a room together. Fine. There's only one bed, ok. She takes all her clothes off and gets into bed with him. Huh. He asks her if she can have sex with her synthetic body. She turns around and asks if he'd like to find out. Buh. He says no thanks. As any teenage boy would when propositioned by a beautiful naked woman.

I have to say in my country, that would be considered... slightly inappropriate behaviour for a police officer. Or anyone. I was shouting at the screen.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:05 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Lucrece wrote:
Zohar wrote:Except there isn't a history of oppression of Americans by the English.
:?

If you include "being ruled by" to count as oppressed then pretty much everyone in the entire world was oppressed by the British empire. Certainly Americans today don't generally claim to suffer from the past rule by the British, whereas African-Americans definitely do suffer from past oppression as well as continuing forms of oppression.

Besides that bit, you're missing the point of that example. Which is to say that the fact that Idris Elba isn't an American of African descent doesn't disqualify him from playing one any more than a foreign white person from playing a Japanese person who may be white.

If we applied such standards around placing special cases in casting based on histories of oppression, we wouldn't get Pakistani actors playing the roles of Hindus or vice versa, which has already happened plenty of times. We wouldn't have Israelis being cast as arabs in film, either.

I'm sorry, but I still don't get what your point is. Different groups of people can have complicated relations for reasons other than racism. So what? The problem, in this case, is rooted in racism. When people are (rightfully) upset at cis actors playing trans characters, it's not due to race either, should we not object? Also why do you assume people love it when Hindus and Pakistanis or Israelis and Arabs are interchangeable on TV?

At the most basic level, roles should not move from the small pool of opportunity available to minorities, to the one available to the most visible group on screen. Women's roles shouldn't be allocated to men. PoC's roles shouldn't be played by white people. Trans roles shouldn't be played by cis characters. It's not enough, but it's a beginning. And the exact opposite is happening here.


1- Well, yeah, much of the world was oppressed by the British Empire, thus the many struggles for even colonies today to declare their independence. Reason for the longstanding resentment of Palestinians when the British came in and fucked their lives up during their colonialist incursions, among much of the geopolitics involving former British colonies. The British may not be officially oppressing the Americas anymore, but much of the socioeconomic landscape, and the genocide of Native Americans is most of North America can be linked to their intervention in the continent. The remnants of their oppression still fuel the cycle.

2- Disagree with the idea that trans roles should go to trans people and gay roles should go to gay actors. This would have stymied perfectly good shows like Transparent (where Jeffrey Tambor's performance and name has been a major pull for the show), and it would stifle trans women like Laverne Cox from transcending the niche role of THE trans woman right into playing ANY woman on TV, without need to place a category on what type of woman she is. Neil Patrick Harris would be pigeonholed into gay male roles, and by removing high profile outsider stars from playing parts to which they are not born into would probably end up in the parts and attention not being made instead (Dallas Buyer's Club would likely not have seen the light of day, and neither would Philadelphia or Broke Back Mountain or The Imitation Game have had the exposure they had; they'd be some obscure indie movie with highly limited release schedules instead).
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:46 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:The remnants of their oppression still fuel the cycle.
That's nice but unrelated. Americans are not oppressed by the British, nor do they feel the remnants of oppression from the past, and so Americans playing British characters or vice versa is not a good example for this thread (also because the opposite does occur fairly often).

This would have stymied perfectly good shows like Transparent (where Jeffrey Tambor's performance and name has been a major pull for the show)
Just because something is economical or makes financial/marketing sense doesn't make it a moral decision, which is what we're talking about.

, and it would stifle trans women like Laverne Cox from transcending the niche role of THE trans woman right into playing ANY woman on TV, without need to place a category on what type of woman she is. Neil Patrick Harris would be pigeonholed into gay male roles, and by removing high profile outsider stars from playing parts to which they are not born into would probably end up in the parts and attention not being made instead (Dallas Buyer's Club would likely not have seen the light of day, and neither would Philadelphia or Broke Back Mountain or The Imitation Game have had the exposure they had; they'd be some obscure indie movie with highly limited release schedules instead).

First, I never said trans actors can't play cis roles or gay actors straight roles (you can take mainstream roles to the minority pool, it's the opposite that's an issue), so I'm not sure why you're saying NPH or Laverne Cox aren't able to play other parts? I mean, both of them obviously do?

Second, this is just a thing that doesn't happen - minority actors hardly ever get a chance to play a lead in a movie, so you can't really say those movies are unsuccessful, since they don't exist - name two well-known American movies with an Asian lead from the past year, or one with a trans lead, etc. Once we see there's a history of these movies becoming flops, then we can talk, but until that happens, you can't claim that these movies aren't doing well.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:04 pm UTC

I really don't see how this issue is any different than say... the Japanese using Japanese actors in "Attack on Titan" instead of Germans.

Spoiler:
Image


Attack on Titan is an anime that is clearly set in Germany: Eren Jager (aka: German word for "Hunter") as the main character, German architecture, etc. etc.

The only Asian in the material is Mikasa Ackerman (half-asian actually). By canon, asians (aside from Mikasa's half-lineage) have gone extinct. So why are Japanese actors playing Germans?

---------

I'm sure the film was mediocre of course (anime adaptations are typically not too good: aside from Kenshin and Death Note IIRC). But come on, we can't expect the Japanese studio to just hire a bunch of Germans can we?

Zohar wrote:Second, this is just a thing that doesn't happen - minority actors hardly ever get a chance to play a lead in a movie, so you can't really say those movies are unsuccessful, since they don't exist - name two well-known American movies with an Asian lead from the past year, or one with a trans lead, etc. Once we see there's a history of these movies becoming flops, then we can talk, but until that happens, you can't claim that these movies aren't doing well.


Its not about "Asian Leads cause flops". Its "Without a star, the film will flop". See John Carter: no one knew who the fuck Taylor Kitsch was.

On the other hand, have a cast of well-known characters in an otherwise shitty movie (X-Men Apocalypse... or X-Men Origins) and the movie will literally break box-office records.

----------

The PC crowd is getting a bit ridiculous. Just like how a Chinese director with a Chinese studio chose Matt Damon as a major character in "The Great Wall", its racist. The fact is you can have all the CHINESE insiders making a major Chinese film and the PC group will still call it racism.

The director, Zhang Yimou, wants a "European Mercenary" to appear in the film. Yeah, its not historically accurate but whatever, the play between "Far West" and "Far East" is a common trope in high fantasy stories and serves excellently as a "foil" in films. People like Matt Daemon so it probably will also sell better.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:15 pm UTC

Well, yeah. What would "community activists" fundraise and earn salaries for their executive boards for, or humanities professors sell books on, if there weren't some controversies to conjure up so they can remain relevant. Activism has been an industry for a while; I doubt you will find much movies that aren't accused by one group or another for being insensitive. What clickbait would Bizzfeed or Jezebel or Queerty feast on for traffic?

And that's fine, different people can be sensitive about different things. It's when they start playing rough to induce you to share their sensitivities and political philosophies that it becomes a problem.

Look up Alice Dreger's Galileo's Middle Finger.

Zohar wrote:First, I never said trans actors can't play cis roles or gay actors straight roles (you can take mainstream roles to the minority pool, it's the opposite that's an issue), so I'm not sure why you're saying NPH or Laverne Cox aren't able to play other parts? I mean, both of them obviously do?

Second, this is just a thing that doesn't happen - minority actors hardly ever get a chance to play a lead in a movie, so you can't really say those movies are unsuccessful, since they don't exist - name two well-known American movies with an Asian lead from the past year, or one with a trans lead, etc. Once we see there's a history of these movies becoming flops, then we can talk, but until that happens, you can't claim that these movies aren't doing well.



Adding to what KE said above, when you create holes in employment that only certain demographics can fill, and Hollywood has no known actors to pull from, they typically just default to not having those positions open up.

There's a difference with Will Smith, Meryl Streep, and Jennifer Lawrence and your typical minority actor. They swallow up most of the income and job opportunities since they're established names. Meryl Streep plays by her own rules, being one of the few older women to gain leading roles, just because her name is big enough.

You just end up with tokenism, and many established actors have expressed that their biggest hesitation when they come out is that they'll be typecast into gay roles because the given rules are that now the holes in employment for gay/trans roles have a smaller pool of known names to draw from. Script offers will be about as lopsided as Michael K. Williams constantly being sent scripts for villainous thugs.

The point is that trans women shouldn't just look to roles as trans women, but as women in general, and gay men should have a fluidity in role selection. One of the larger elements to acting is playing people rather unlike yourself, and when you have straight actors playing gay roles or cis actors playing trans roles, they can have a positive effect of communicating to their in-groups the ability to empathize with the out-groups said actor is representing. Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hanks among others bring alongside them loyal audiences that identify with them and more readily immerse themselves in the lives and perspective of out-groups when a member of their own group is placed in the depiction.

Hell, Mickey Rourke has been courting Jason Statham to play the role of out rugby champion Gareth Thomas. The implications of seeing a straight action movie staple actor of Statham's stature bring in his audience to a biopic of Gareth Thomas is immense.

Similarly, the opposite effect is obvious. When cowards like Mark Wahlberg turned down gay scripts on the advice of his priest, or when Denzel Washington was cautioned by fellow black actors about taking his role in Philadelphia, they show the marginalizing effect of saying to audiences "gay stories are for gay people to care about and be involved in" and the financial draught that ultimately prevents from such movies being greenlit.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:28 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:But the Japanese used Japanese actors because that's who is around Japanese studios. In America, we're fortunate to have significant diversity to leverage: a lot of the actors who make up the squad will be Japanese.
Are you saying America is diverse, so it's OK to have white actors playing minority characters?

Its not about "Asian Leads cause flops". Its "Without a star, the film will flop". See John Carter: no one knew who the fuck Taylor Kitsch was.

Pacific Rim. Juno. Little Miss Sunshine. Slumdog Millionaire. The Full Monty. Saw. Rocky. Mad Max. Blair Witch Project. Paranormal Activity. Superman Returns. Transformers. Lord of the Rings. Good Will Hunting. E.T. Big. Star Wars. Alien. Fifty Shades of Grey. Room. Ex Machina. How to Train Your Dragon. Big Hero 6. Boyhood. Dredd. I could go on for a very long time. Unknown actors are not an excuse for a movie flopping. And obviously, if you don't promote minority actors, they will not become well-known - another piece of circular logic.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:29 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Well, yeah. What would "community activists" fundraise and earn salaries for their executive boards for

Are you under the impression I'm getting paid for this?
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:37 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Well, yeah. What would "community activists" fundraise and earn salaries for their executive boards for

Are you under the impression I'm getting paid for this?



What gave you the impression I was talking about you? Do you have a PC crowd label branded on top of your avatar or something?

P.S. Dredd was a flop. Boyhood wasn't even some noticeable financial success, just critically acclaimed (for reference, many HBO shows are critically acclaimed and yet they don't make it past the 2nd "pity" season).

Hollywood is a conservative industry, names and formulas matter. Which is why Steven Spielberg bemoaned the idea that original drama as a genre was in decline.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:59 pm UTC

I just don't understand why advocacy economics are relevant to the argument we're having, perhaps you could explain that.

OK, so a couple of the movies I mentioned didn't make a lot of money. Star Wars made some money, right?

As for the economic excuses of Hollywood, they are, again, irrelevant to the discussion.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby charliepanayi » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:00 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:
Zohar wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Well, yeah. What would "community activists" fundraise and earn salaries for their executive boards for

Are you under the impression I'm getting paid for this?



What gave you the impression I was talking about you? Do you have a PC crowd label branded on top of your avatar or something?

P.S. Dredd was a flop. Boyhood wasn't even some noticeable financial success, just critically acclaimed (for reference, many HBO shows are critically acclaimed and yet they don't make it past the 2nd "pity" season).

Hollywood is a conservative industry, names and formulas matter. Which is why Steven Spielberg bemoaned the idea that original drama as a genre was in decline.


Boyhood didn't make a massive amount but did make ten times its budget, so that's a pretty decent return.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:13 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:But the Japanese used Japanese actors because that's who is around Japanese studios. In America, we're fortunate to have significant diversity to leverage: a lot of the actors who make up the squad will be Japanese.
Are you saying America is diverse, so it's OK to have white actors playing minority characters?

Its not about "Asian Leads cause flops". Its "Without a star, the film will flop". See John Carter: no one knew who the fuck Taylor Kitsch was.

Pacific Rim.


Made less money than "Battleship with Rihanna". (Hey, minorities can be stars too).

Juno.


The movie with Jennifer Garner and Michael Cera (After "Superbad")? Star power up the wazoo.

Etc. etc. I don't have the time for a point-by-point rebuttle, but the general gist is: casting a movie with a star is a sure-fire way to ensure big-numbers at the box office. Its a simple fact. No matter how shitty "Battleship" was, Rihanna is a star and thus made the movie more financially successful than Pacific Rim.

-----------------

Anyway, I do like it when minorities get a shot at a movie, but that's bonus points. I give "Suicide Squad" major props for starting minorities in a superhero genre (The only white characters were Col. Flagg and Boomerang). So yeah, I get what you're saying. There should be more movies with minorities starring.

But you can't deny the financial appeal of casting Scarlet Johanson. Besides, she's a full-body cyborg. Maybe they only had American bodies this time or something. The Major can look however they want her to look.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Mutex » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:21 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I really don't see how this issue is any different than say... the Japanese using Japanese actors in "Attack on Titan" instead of Germans.


It's not different, but I'll point out that just because Japanese movie studios do something doesn't stop it being racist. Racism exists in all countries.

But I don't think this is necessarily racism, like you say it's because there are basically no asian big-name movie stars in the US. But then, that suggests it might be much harder for asian actors to get recognised and become big stars in Hollywood.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Lucrece » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:27 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I just don't understand why advocacy economics are relevant to the argument we're having, perhaps you could explain that.

OK, so a couple of the movies I mentioned didn't make a lot of money. Star Wars made some money, right?

As for the economic excuses of Hollywood, they are, again, irrelevant to the discussion.



It was relevant to the aside KE had made. My response was not part of a conversation with you.

If I'm addressing something you specifically said, I'll quote you directly. I didn't quote KE because he was the post directly above me.

Remind us again how many more years later Star Wars took to bring on a female protagonist and her black male love interest? Because the originals were pretty damn white. Part of what made Star Trek infinitely more progressive (and less mainstream at the same time, because Star Wars made itself bland and not prone to challenge convention to widen its audience).

Hell, the whole Star Wars and Ghostbusters brought a deluge of backlash. Backlash from people you personally don't care about (and quite frankly I don't either), but that backlash and potential financial losses doesn't go away simply because a vocal demographic is not sympathetic.

Hollywood has been trying. The fact we're even getting Ghost in the Shell made is an advance in itself.

I wasn't happy that The Imitation Game resorted to the trope of female attenuator to reduce the apparent faggotry of a gay man by tying him to an emotional bond with a feminine presence (and the real life character she was based on was sidelined by the platonic romance undertones introduced to her relationship with Turing), but in general the movie was a good advance over some obscure limited theatrical run seen only in film festivals and New York/San Francisco alternative.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:28 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I really don't see how this issue is any different than say... the Japanese using Japanese actors in "Attack on Titan" instead of Germans.


It's not different, but I'll point out that just because Japanese movie studios do something doesn't stop it being racist. Racism exists in all countries.

But I don't think this is necessarily racism, like you say it's because there are basically no asian big-name movie stars in the US. But then, that suggests it might be much harder for asian actors to get recognised and become big stars in Hollywood.


Its a double-whammy. I can name say, Jackie Chan or Chao Yun Fat who'd play an excellent "star" as any Chinese role.

But a FEMALE action-hero star? One who is comfortable with doing stunts of some kind and playing basically an action heroine? That's... a lot of restrictions.

------------

I think the sexism in Hollywood is well-known, an I think there are legitimate issues to discuss from that matter. IE: there SHOULD be more female stars in Hollywood, especially in action films (which is generally a male-centric role). But the fact of the matter is, Hollywood isn't there yet. Honestly, I'd bet you this is more the sexism thing than a racism thing.

If there were more female action heroines on Hollywood's payroll, perhaps there would have been a star who matched the Major's perceived bodytype better.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:35 pm UTC

I don't get all of your arguments. We all know big stars are often safer for movies to be successful. But a sound business strategy is not an excuse or a reason for something not to be racist. We used to not have women in action roles either but now we have Hunger Games, Divergent, Lucy, the aforementioned Ghost in the Shell, Salt, Kill Bill, Wonder Woman, etc. Things can change, if people talk about it.

But the fact of the matter is, Hollywood isn't there yet.
Yeah, again - an excuse, not a legitimate explanation of how it's not racist.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:46 pm UTC

Not to mention that it's frequently at least as much executive superstition and bias reinforcement ("movies with x leads don't do well," they stick x lead in a shitty movie, it does poorly, "well, what do you expect, with x lead," lather, rinse, repeat) as it is anything borne out by reality.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Flumble » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:30 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Flumble wrote:If we don't get any scenes like this, it's fucked. Nothing says cyberpunk(?) like a cyborg tearing itself apart to get something done because "it's just a shell". 8-)
Then again, I'm only familiar with 3 films, so perhaps the mood/atmosphere is very different in the manga and series and this film would be justified in not having such an element (nor virtual mazes nor philosophical discussions (without vocal fry!)).


That link probably needs an NSFW warning. And yeah, sadly I don't think Scarlett Johansson would be up for filming a scene like that, and I expect the film will be PG-13.

You mean because of the violence, right?

Those breasts, while obviously for tittilation since there's no benefit for a cyborg to have mass there* (especially at that size and with nipples), are as un-sexualized as can be. But nevermind about that, I was talking about ripping your synthetic body apart, regardless of sex or clothing. Surely that's PG-13 in the USA, and Scarlett has done falling apart and unbeing in other films. :mrgreen:


*unless it's actually for mechanical damping... huh, why did I never think of that? Basically all of that body seems rigid, so blobs of whatever synthetic (nanomachine!) goo could help balancing and reacting to impacts with little wear on the body.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby natraj » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:50 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:English actors play American actors and vice versa all the time. Idris Elba has played the part of historical African Americans, when he isn't even American.

The point is that nationality is not a race, especially in some sci-fi globalized society. It's a shitty essentialist argument where people would be aghast if the reverse suggestion of whenever an American is cast, it should be a white guy because demographically it's associated with white people. Saying someone is Japanese is not the same as saying someone is belonging to a certain racial category, especially when the series made no effort to delineate The Major's racial background, and it has actually often messed with her looks outside her signature hairstyle and color. Her body isn't even her original one, just one of several synthetic ones she's had (thus the series name).


if you're talking series overall, major's racial identity HAS in fact come up as a plot point in the series (in stand alone complex) but i'm not here to debate fandom purity or how much you know about ghost in the shell. canonically she is racially japanese, and this is an explicitly brought up point in the series when exploring her character.

nationality is not a race, no, but "japanese" refers to both a nationality and a race, and the fact that you have decided to a) conflate these things arbitrarily and b) then apply this universally to completely un-analogous situations like british people playing americans or gay actors playing straight characters really has zero bearing on te racism of hollywood's frequent habit of whitewashing characters to make movies more marketable, which then only creates a continued loop of people assuming minority actors cannot be marketable and therefore refusing to give them big roles.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:26 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I don't get all of your arguments. We all know big stars are often safer for movies to be successful. But a sound business strategy is not an excuse or a reason for something not to be racist. We used to not have women in action roles either but now we have Hunger Games, Divergent, Lucy, the aforementioned Ghost in the Shell, Salt, Kill Bill, Wonder Woman, etc. Things can change, if people talk about it.


Unfortunately, half of those are garbage, but eh, not the actresses fault. No amount of acting can fix a mess like Lucy.

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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby Zohar » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:47 pm UTC

I was commenting on financial success. Even Lucy (which yes, is a really bad film) made ten times its budget with almost half a million in the box office, all the others (except GitS and Wonder Woman, which haven't come out yet) have also been huge successes. You could arguably add Star Wars:TFA in there as well.
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Re: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

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