Oh, Hollywood. You’re so crazy (and by crazy I mean racist and ridiculous).
Ghost in the Shell was originally a Japanese manga comic series about a fictional counter-terrorism unit, and though I’m pretty unfamiliar the series it is incredibly popular; Paramount and Dreamworks eventually picked it up to make a live-action film based on the anime. Late last year, they cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi, the lead character and a role obviously written for an Asian (specifically Japanese) woman.
Last week, Paramount released the first image (above) of ScarJo as the character and obviously, people again fell critical of the production for casting a white woman. The criticism allegedly got to producers, so the rumor is that they might CGI-ing the white actors to make them look “more Asian.” Which I doubt is true, but it still incredibly ridiculous.
After the backlash surrounding Johansson’s role in the film, producers reportedly attempted to quell the controversy with an old standby Hollywood uses to fix a lot of problems: CGI. According to multiple independent sources close to the project, Paramount and DreamWorks commissioned visual effects tests that would’ve altered Scarlett Johansson in post-production to “shift her ethnicity” and make the Caucasian actress appear more Asian in the film.
It’s the latest, and most extreme, case of “beauty work,” the new trend in Hollywood to discreetly use visual effects to tweak an actor’s appearance, making them thinner, younger or stronger. The Ghost in the Shell tests were conducted by Lola VFX, the same company that aged up (and down) Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and is considered the industry leader in so-called beauty work. Though the tests were requested by the production team, once they were developed and reviewed, the idea was rejected “immediately,” says an insider.
We reached out to Paramount Pictures who acknowledged the tests, but refute the claim that Johansson was involved: “A test was done related to a specific scene for a background actor which was ultimately discarded. Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character and we have no future plans to do so.”
Our sources maintain Johansson’s character was specifically the focus of these tests, though they were done without her participation or knowledge.
Ugh, I don’t know how true this is. I believe dumb execs probably panicked at some point because they realized that hey, they could CAST actual ASIAN PEOPLE but didn’t and wanted that money and then got all pouty because, I DON’T KNOW people got ANGRY (and for good reason). Th fact that this was even talked about seriously shows just how racially insensitive and clueless Hollywood is.
BTW, I seriously doubt Scarlett would have been on-board with CGI-ing her face.