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Ghost in the Shell – a live action adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series – has been trapped in development hell for quite some time. The only real concrete information that has been released for fans is the fact that it will star modern day action queen Scarlett Johansson. Now, it seems the creative forces behind the project have taken a major step forward.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jonathan Herman – who most recently penned the script for the highly acclaimed Straight Outta Compton – has been tapped to write the screenplay for Ghost in the Shell. Previous drafts of the script have already been written by William Wheeler and Jamie Moss, with Herman brought in to fine-tune weaker elements of the script – much like he did for the N.W.A biopic.
For those unaware, Ghost in the Shell centers on a Special Forces cyborg (Johansson) in charge of Section 9, a unit employed by a company called Hanka Robotics. The unit is tasked with the job of taking down terrorists and criminals led by a mastermind called The Laughing Man – a fanatic hacker intent on taking down Hanka Robotics. The film is based on a popular Japanese manga series of the same name, written by Masamune Shirow.
This news of Herman's hiring should come as pleasant reveal for fans of Ghost in the Shell who have trepidations regarding the upcoming film. The project has recently come under fire for casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead. Despite her increasingly strong repertoire in the action genre as of late – with a big presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the surprise success of Lucy – many saw her casting as odd due to her being a white American woman, and the franchise is very much Japanese. This has led to many accusations of Hollywood of once again whitewashing an international property.
If the success of his previous outings are anything to go by, Herman’s talents as a screenwriter seem to have no issue in crossing genres or cultures. In addition to the upcoming Ghost in the Shell, he has added his touch to a remake of Scarface, as well as The Birds. This move should instill confidence that the man’s talents are not restricted to specific styles, settings, or characters, and that he is trusted by studios with fairly sacred properties.
We will bring you more news about Ghost in the Shell as it becomes available to us. For now, it is set to hit theaters on March 31, 2017.