Yesterday, we rehashed a recent controversial topic of Hollywood yellowfacing with the new Doctor Strange trailer showing Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan mystic, followed by the first look at Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese cyborg policewoman Motoko Kusanagi in the live-action adaptation of the upcoming Ghost in the Shell. There was some outrage when casting news for both roles came out last year, but with back-to-back visual reveals this week, people are talking about (and are enraged by) Hollywood's age-old whitewashing (including yours truly). If this issue feels awfully familiar, it's probably because this happens so goddamn often (ehem, Aloha).
Today, Screen Crush has exclusive new information about Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of the Asian character. Apparently, after the controversy last year, DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures tried to save their own ass by making matters even worse. Their solution? Good ol' reliable CGI. Screen Crush has word from multiple independent sources that visual effects were used on Johansson to "shift her ethnicity." Umm, translation: Make her look more Asian to appease angry fans. Paramount Pictures confirmed that they did use Lola VFX (the visual effects company that altered Brad Pitt's appearance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) but denied testing it on Johansson. "Absolutely no visual effects tests were conducted on Scarlett’s character, and we have no future plans to do so," they said. But Screen Crush adds that their sources confirm effects on Johansson in post-production but that the actress had no knowledge of it. If this is all true, they could have saved so much money and time by, you know, just casting an Asian person in the first place.
Peep the first photo of Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell (out March 31, 2017); interpret her look however you will: