Ghost in the Shell has been at the center of whitewashing controversy ever since Scarlett Johansson was cast in the lead role of the Major.
Johansson, director Rupert Sanders and the movie’s producer have all defended the casting, but Asian-American actors and members of the community have spoken out against the casting. Now, a new short film from two stand-up comedians examines the importance of representation in film.
Chewy May and Jes Tom, two comedians from New York, released the film last week. The short, which can be seen above, begins with a young, Asian girl walking into a comic book store and browsing through a collection of books. Left disappointed by the majority of comics portraying white women on the covers or in the actual panels, it’s not until she comes across a copy of Ghost in the Shell and sees the Major that she smiles for the first time. Fast forward 20 years later and the woman that girl became can be seen walking down the street, looking at movie posters. When she comes across the poster for Ghost in the Shell and sees Johansson’s face, everything comes rushing back.
This isn’t the first time that people have spoken about about the importance of representation in film, but the conversation has picked up again recently following a conversation on Twitter. Iron Fist actor Finn Jones made headlines this week after deciding to leave Twitter over a discussion about representation. The conversation stemmed from Jones sharing a post from Riz Ahmed, best known for his work in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, about how crucial representation is to the success of film.
When asked about the accusations of whitewashing, Johansson told Marie Claire magazine she saw Ghost in the Shell as an important role for women in action. The actress hasn’t said anything about it since.
Ghost in the Shell will be released on March 31.