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INTERVIEW: Scarlett Johansson is a Ghost in the Shell

March 29, 2017

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By: Lynn Barker

Ghost in the Shell is based on the popular series of Manga/Anime which tells the story of the fictional counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, led by protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi, in mid-21st century Japan. It has been a TV series and film. Now, in a new film, Scarlett Johansson plays The Major who is strong-willed, physically powerful and, in this new movie, a cyborg with an “old-soul” intelligence that belies her hot chick, youthful appearance.

The Major wonders who she really isThe Major wonders who she really isCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Scarlett hopes her depiction of the popular character comes off as an homage to the Manga and Anime she represents. Scarlett who is no stranger to physical roles having played Black Widow in the Avengers films, says her stunts in Ghost in the Shell were in a whole other difficulty category. Let’s hear it from her.

Q: Who is your character The Major?

  • Scarlett: She is the head of a government-funded group, section nine who fight cyber-terrorism which she believes to be humanity’s greatest threat. Through this journey of fighting terrorism, she embarks upon a path of self-discovery in a very unexpected way.

Major isn't sure about her missionMajor isn't sure about her missionCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: How does technology affect the Ghost in the Shell World? What is the world of the film like?

  • Scarlett: I don’t think it’s an alternate universe but I think it’s what I would describe as the not so bright, not so distant future. Humans are still able to use technology to their advantage but, in becoming so dependent on technology for their own satisfaction, enhancement and happiness, they have sort of forgotten or are losing a sense of purpose, a sense of self and connectivity, all those things. It’s a world that is sort of isolating and sterile.

Q: Talk about your sexy Thermoptic Suit.

  • Scarlett: The Thermoptic Suit is sort of like a second skin and it allows her to become invisible and everything that goes along with that. It’s a tool she uses to be (on the offensive) and obviously to be undercover. There are other characters in the film that have the same technology, maybe not as advanced, but it’s not something that’s like a super suit. It’s just something that is out there. We know that the material exists and it’s something that allows her to fight under the radar.

The Major (Scarlett) goes into action!The Major (Scarlett) goes into action!Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: And look hot doing it! But she has skills that don’t come from the suit?

  • Scarlett: The skills that she has are her own skills. It has nothing to do with wearing the suit.

Q: How does the Major actually find herself? What is her personal quest?

  • Scarlett: Rupert (Sanders, the director) and I talked a lot about the plight of this character, the quest for self-identity, the need to know the truth about where you come from and what that means. Are you a product of where you come from, who you truly are from your experience and is that what makes you you? If not what does? The fact that the Major has a life she believes she had, a life she’s been given and a life she chooses, that journey was exciting for me to pull apart.

Awakening: Who am I? What am I?Awakening: Who am I? What am I?Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Talk about the fight sequences, the physicality of the role.

  • Scarlett: Well, it wouldn’t be Ghost in the Shell without the crazy fight sequences and gunplay. It’s been exhausting and really empowering at the same time to be able to be as physical as I have on this film. I’ve been really able to handle weapons, complete every fight, do all the wirework with the support of the stunt team leading, guiding, supporting me and cheering me on.

Scarlett doing wire work as MajorScarlett doing wire work as MajorCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: That’s you doing nearly everything stunt wise, right?

  • Scarlett: Yeah. Because the physicality is such an important part of this character, I’ve been really married to the idea of doing everything and being as capable as possible. It’s really been something else for me. I feel that I now have a set of skills for life (she laughs). It’s allowed me to get over a lot of the fears that I’ve had; feeling out of control but realizing “No, you are in control. You’ve got this and you can make it look bad-ass too!” It’s been really empowering.

Major isn't sure who the real enemy isMajor isn't sure who the real enemy isCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: What was your overall experience playing Major?

  • Scarlett: This experience has been like nothing else I’ve ever had before. It’s really been all-encompassing and I feel I’ve taken on this character in a way that was very unexpected. It’s hard to shake for me and I hope the audience shares the same compassion that I have for this character and I hope they willingly go on this ride with me because it’s a ride for sure.

Ghost in the Shell PosterGhost in the Shell PosterCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Catch Scarlett in Ghost in the Shell starting Friday, March 31st!

 

Have Your Say

Are you a fan of Manga and Anime? Do you love Scarlett Johansson movies? Talk about it by leaving a comment!