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.