Rila Fukushima is jacking in to Ghost in the Shell.
EW has confirmed that the Tokyo-born actress has joined Scarlett Johansson in DreamWorks and Paramount’s big-screen adaptation of the influential manga series about an elite anti-cybercrime unit.
Fukushima, who is perhaps best known to American audiences for playing the foresighted warrior Yukio in The Wolverine, comes as the latest Asian performer to board Ghost in the Shell, which has been accused of whitewashing its distinctly Japanese source material.
Although the cast includes Japanese actors Takeshi Kitano, Kaori Momoi, and Yutaka Izumihara (and Singaporean actor Chin Han), Johansson plays the lead character, a cyborg special-ops agent known as the Major. In the original manga and several anime adaptations, the character is Japanese and named Motoko Kusanagi, and the casting of a white actress for the role has been criticized by such voices as actress Ming-Na Wen, Yahoo contributor Jason Chen, the Angry Asian Man blog, and an online petition with more than 100,000 signatures.
The Ghost in the Shell cast also includes Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, and Pilou Asbæk. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is directing from a script by Jonathan Herman and Jamie Moss. The film is scheduled to open March 31.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported Fukushima’s casting.