Scarlett Johansson just agreed to play the lead role in the Dreamworks' adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. Ruper Sanders is on track to be the director.
And so it begins months if not years of speculations, blog posting and debates about not-Asian actors playing roles in Japanese stories, about the fact that Asian American movie stars are almost not existing, and about how american film studios try (and fail in spectacular ways) to "translate" original Japanese works for an american audience because they believe:
1. American movie goers will not be able to digests\understand foreign concepts,
2. The way the story was told originally will only manage to get american audiences lost,
3. American audiences will not go to see a movie if they do not recognize the main actor/actress in the film.
But there is nothing to be worried about because they know how to "fix" these problems. Just check their past success stories: Dragon Ball Z: Evolution, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Oldboy and 47 Ronin just to mention some. (Granted, Avatar: The Last Airbender is not a Japanese original work but you can see what happens when Hollywood "fixes" things).
You can bet that at every step for the creation of this movie from the casting of the roles, to the script, to the costumes, to the editing and post-production work, someone in the back of the room will be making decisions that he\she\they believe will make for a better return on investment, which is, in any case, their ultimate goal.
Let's face it, they are running a business and at the end of the day it is all about the money. That is just the reality of Hollywood plain and simple.
I just hope that in the same room there will be someone who knows and loves the original story, someone who knows and loves the original characters and the original artwork. Someone who's priority number one is not make millions of dollars in profit, but someone who wants to share their love of this story with someone else; you know, a fan of Ghost in the Shell.