So recently, the image of Scarlett Johansson as the live-action Ghost in the Shell‘s Major Motoko Kusanagi was released, and the response from fans of the anime/manga worldwide were pretty mixed. Some were just happy to see hints of the live-action version finally being shown, but many have voiced their unhappiness of what is seen as the whitewashing of a beloved Japanese character.
Many contend that there are plenty of Asian actresses that would have fit the bill and the casting of Scarlett Johansson only goes to show that Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity in its cast. We could go on about this issue, but that is another story.
Instead, what we’re going to do is list down a few Asian Actresses that could have been a better alternative for the role of Major Kusanagi in the movie.
1. Rinko Kikuchi
Rinko Kikuchi is a definite, must mention for the role. Aside from the fact that she’s Japanese, she has a couple of other stuff in her CV that would make her great for the role.
She can definitely chop it for the action scenes based on what we’ve seen in Pacific Rim and when it comes to acting, please, she’s a freaking Oscar Nominee. There is also one more thing that would make her a great fit, her experience in anime/manga adaptations.
She’s been in the live-action adaptations for Liar Game 2, Gu-Gu Datte Neko de Aru and Moteki. And if that isn’t enough, she’s also done voice work for Ghost in the Shell anime’s director Mamoruu Oshii’s Sky Crawlers, which will likely make her familiar with the material.
2. Jamie Chung
Jamie Chung might, for some, be a weird choice for the role of Major Kusanagi but well just hear us out. Since one of the reasons for this “whitewashing” of Asian characters was the need for a more recognisable star, then Jamie Chung would definitely fit the bill.
She has been successful not only on TV but has managed to land some pretty decent roles in movies like Sucker Punch, Big Hero 6 and Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. Many people would also recognise her as Mulan from the hit series Once Upon A Time.
Those roles have shown that she can make it when it comes from an acting point of view and as for the action part, she does have some martial arts training and not to mention that time she played the lead role in this little-known movie called Samurai Girl.
3. Rila Fukushima
When it comes to comic book roles, Rila Fukushima has done it in spades. She already played Yukio in the The Wolverine movie and we all loved her when she picked up the sword to play DC hero Katana in the Arrow tv series.
Both roles show that she can easily take on the action and fight scenes that will definitely be in the Ghost in the Shell movie and her portrayal of Tatsu in the Arrow series has shown that she can at take on the more dramatic scenes with ease.
4. Bae Doona
Bae Doona, or Doona Bae might not be in the radar for a few of you here but if you’ve been following Netflix’s sci-fi series Sense8, you’ll recognise her as Sun Bak one of the main characters of the show. That or if you’ve seen the Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas movie.
What makes her appropriate for the role of Major Kusanagi is the level of bad-assery she showed while playing Sun in Sense8. After all, if you could take out a bunch of gun wielding gangsters alone with just a machete, or beat up grown man one-on-one in a kickboxing ring, keeping Japan safe shouldn’t be a problem. And that attitude? Perfect. Also, did we mention she has just the right hairstyle, like Rinko Kikuchi, for the role?
5. Maggie Q
We saved the best for last. Come on, when we know you’re thinking it. When it was first announced that Hollywood was making the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, many of you would have had her on the top of your mind as Major Kusanagi. And why shouldn’t she be?
While Maggie Q might have started off her career over in Hong Kong, but she’s managed to make quite and impact over at Hollywood as well. Especially since she was cast as the role of Nikita for the second remake of the classic femme fatale movie of the same name.
If you ever watched the Nikita tv series, you know she fits Major Kusanagi to the T. She has the attitude and behaviour covered and as for the action scenes? Like we said, have you seen her in Nikita?
So that’s our choices of Asian actresses who should have played Major Kusanagi in the Ghost in the Shell live-action movie. Who would have been your choice? Do let us know in the comments below.