HOLLYWOOD – Scarlett Johansson is in talks to play Dr. David Dao in a new film United 2017.

Ghost in the Shell star Scarlett Johansson has signed on to play Chinese American doctor David Dao in a new film about the incident, when he was forcibly bumped from his flight. Johansson told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

I worried about playing Dr. Dao at first. After all he’s not Japanese, he’s Chinese American. And I’m really more about playing Japanese people. This will be a challenge for me. But then again this is why we’re in this game.

What will the film show?

The drama. In a word. What is happening here is symptomatic of our whole country. It will be violent and disturbing. People say there’s no script but then again I was in We Bought a Zoo so what do I know?

News of the casting has drawn outrage. The Association for Asian Actors and Artists (or the AAAA) said: ‘But she’s Japanese! Conflating Japanese and Chinese American is really racist.’

United 2017 will be released in 2017.


REVIEW – GHOST IN THE SHELL – The Black Widow is turned into an occasionally invisible robot, but does the classic Manga get Lost in Translation?

Rupert Sanders’ adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has a difficult task to pull off. The 1995 anime version of Masamune Shirow manga series was an iconic masterpiece. Scarlett Johansson’s casting didn’t help matters, seen by the Asian acting community as yet another peach of a role going to a white actor. Although in this case it’s probably more excusable than Tilda Swinton’s turn in Doctor Strange. Okay. All that to one side, what’s the film like?

I liked it. Visually Sanders takes many cues from the Anime and it looks beautiful. Johansson channels her inner alien and pulls off a companion role to Under the Skin – which would make a great double bill. The city is a mish mash of downtown Tokyo and backstreet Third World. Kitano Beat Takeshi has a great role in it as well. I could watch him just eating his breakfast, but I prefer watching him offing people. In the end, Ghost in the Shell never reaches the escape velocity to get out of the gravity of its own source material nor do I think it will succeed in setting up a franchise. However, it’s stylish and witty sci-fi, and that’s good enough for me.

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HOLLYWOOD – Ghost in the Shell and Lost in Translation star Scarlett Johansson is not actually Japanese, we learned today.

Shocking news hit the internet that Scarlettt Johansson – star of Ghost in the Shell – is not in fact Japanese. Internet Sleuth Abercromby Mitch told the Studio Exec:

The first thing I did was look at the name. It doesn’t look very Japanese if you ask me. Norwegian and like Old Southy is more likely. Then I sleuthed my way over to the Wikipedia page and I found this little nugget buried under the deceptively simple looking subheading ‘Early Life’. And I quote:

Scarlett Johansson was born in Manhattan.[5] Her father, Karsten Johansson, is an architect originally from Copenhagen, Denmark,[6] and her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was an art historian, screenwriter, and director. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, a producer, comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from the Bronx.

So you see. Not Japanese at all.

Rupert Sanders reacted to the news with dismay:

I thought she was Japanese. I mean Lost in Translation was set in Tokyo right. And I think that’s in Japan.

A spokesperson for the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) – who had been critical of the casting of Johansson in the role of Motoku Kusanagi  – had this to say:

Well, yeah, that’s what we were… Haven’t you been paying attention?

Ghost in the Shell is in Theatres.


HOLLYWOOD – In an attempt to explain the recent spate of whitewashing, film screenwriter Max Landis argued that ‘racism was the new black’ and that everyone should ‘just get over it.’

Speaking on a YouTube clip, Max Landis writer of Chronicle and American Ultra addressed the criticism of the casting of white actors in non-white roles, such as Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swinton in Kung Fu and Doctor Strange. Landis spoke EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec via the YouTube video:

People are upset and they’re blaming everyone, but those people do not understand how this industry works and I know this is going to sound like mansplaining or white ‘splaining or whatever but I feel that it has to be said. Today if you want a big budget movie to have any chance of making back its money you need a white person or Will Smith to star in it. Maybe two white people maybe more. Because simply, Hollywood is racist and I’m not talking about a few bad apples, I mean the whole industry. But look so are the audiences. China is so racist it doesn’t even know what the word racism means. It just thinks that its racism is factual. Europe is racist. Africa is racist central. There was a time that racism was a white thing but now everyone is racism. It’s basically the new black.

Following the release of Max Landis’ video, everyone agreed with what he said and then started talking about Game of Thrones.

Max Landis is currently working on a musical version of Roots starring Justin Bieber.


HOLLYWOOD – The first image of Scarlett Johansson’s co-star Mickey Rooney in Ghost in the Shell remake has caused a stir on the internets.

When news first came in that Scarlett Johansson was being cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the new Paramount/Dreamworks remake of Anime classic Ghost in the Shell, there were legitimate concerns that Hollywood was once more glibly whitewashing Asian characters. And so the further news that Mickey Rooney has been cast to play Johansson’s father will no doubt add fuel to the controversy. In a statement issued today a Paramount senior executive responded to criticisms that had appeared in the media and on comment boards everywhere:


This was not enough for Xavier Poulis, long standing critic of whitewashing:

Mickey Rooney is not only a white man playing an Asian character, he also has a history of playing racist stereotypes. It doesn’t help matters that he also died two years ago. So we now also have a case that not only are white actors playing roles that should be going to ethnically diverse groups, but that even a dead white actor has more chance of being cast than an alive Asian one.

Ghost in the Shell will be released Tuesday.