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Twenty-five years ago, the world was first introduced to Masamune Shirow's iconic cyberpunk manga Ghost In The Shell. Not only was this story of futuristic police work turned into an equally iconic animated film in 1995, it's also spawned a sequel and television series that have kept the legacy going through until about 2006. We nearly saw the next step in Ghost In The Shell's evolution in 2008, with Dreamworks SKG owning the rights to the eventually long delayed live-action adaptation. Leave it to Scarlett Johansson to save the day, as she's now the franchise's latest/best hope.
Deadline is reporting that Johansson is being offered $10 million to star as Major Motoko Kusanagi, the film's "augmented-cybernetic human" lead character. As a member of the elite task force Section 9, Major Kusanagi faces terrorists and thugs on the cyber warfare front of a futuristic cyberpunk version of Japan. With lush visuals and a healthy dose of science fiction, Ghost In The Shell has the makings of a four quadrant hit.
This offer was made after the previous choice for the role, The Wolf Of Wall Street's Margo Robbie, decided to pull out of consideration for the – all thanks to a competing offer to star as part of DC's potential 2016 money maker Suicide Squad. Strangely enough, this could possibly reteam Robbie with her Focus co-star Will Smith, who's also being sought after for that same picture. As far as weighing her options goes, Robbie seems to have traded up in the world, considering she still only has one major picture to her name.
The trade off from Margo Robbie to Scarlett Johansson is somewhat of an equal trade, as Robbie's "it factor" would make Ghost In The Shell a great "little engine that could" story. However, Johansson's legacy factor as an ass kicker, as well as her newly upgraded box office clout after the success that was Lucy, makes for an equally (if not slightly improved) outlook for the film's prospect as a hit. It also would provide Scarlett Johansson a possible exit strategy/promotion from her current gig at Marvel as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow.
With Rupert Sanders looking to recover after the fallout of personal and professional proportions experienced during Snow White And The Huntsman, and Johansson's name possibly filling the marquee, it's quite possible that we'll be seeing Ghost In The Shell's prospects rise from modest success to full blown summer tentpole picture soon. Should this go off the way that Dreamworks hopes it will, it will not only be a nice win for the studio, but it will also be a great goal for Scarlett Johansson, and could put her in line for even more prime starring gigs.
Ghost In The Shell doesn't have a production schedule as of yet, but that'll probably change quickly in either direction, depending on Johansson's decision.