AceShowbiz - The "whitewashing" controversy surrounding the casting of Scarlett Johansson in "Ghost in the Shell" has drawn the attention of Max Landis. The director and writer of "American Ultra" explained in a YouTube video titled "If You're Mad About 'Ghost In the Shell,' You Don't Know How The Movie Industry Works".
Johansson is portraying cyborg policewoman Major Kusanagi in the live-action adaptation of classic Japanese anime. Criticism against the casting of the actress as a Japanese character began last year and a petition was launched to throw her out the role. It has so far garnered more than 65,000 signatures.
One of the protesters included "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." star Ming-Na. "Nothing against Scarlett Johansson. In fact, I'm a big fan. But everything against this whitewashing of Asian role," she tweeted a few days ago. Fans argued that Oscar-nominated "Pacific Rim" star Rinko Kikuchi would better fit the role.
Landis begged to differ. He explained how long the process to get a movie done; from the purchase, the distribution to the casting for "marketable celebrity". Everything, according to Landis, is done to make money. "There used to be a bunch of A-list celebrities who used to mean different things to different regions, because studios have to make their money back by selling tickets," he said.
Landis continued, "There are no A-list female Asian celebrities right now on an international level. It's infuriating. There used to be, in the 90s, diversity in our A-list actors. Jackie Chan and Jet Li were famous at the same time, they could both get movies made. We don't have that guy anymore, we don't even have Lucy Liu anymore."
He continued, "That is not the fault of the movie industry, really. That's culture and movies getting more and more afraid because movies make less and less money." He went on making his points before concluding, "If you're mad about Scarlett Johansson being cast in 'Ghost In The Shell' the truth of the matter is, you're mad at the wrong people. You shouldn't be mad at the film industry because they are operating out of fear."