Producer defends casting Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. (Paramount Pictures)
Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. (Paramount Pictures)

Los Angeles - Scarlett Johansson's casting in Ghost in the Shell has been defended by the movie's producer. 

After months of backlash following the decision to cast Scarlett instead of an Asian actress in the movie, set in a fictional 21st century Japanese city called Niihama, producer Steve Paul says they have taken an "international approach" to the film.

He told Buzzfeed News: "There (are) all sorts of people and nationalities in the world in Ghost in the Shell. We're utilising people from all over the world. ... There's Japanese in it. There's Chinese in it. There's English in it. There's Americans in it.

"I don't think it was just a Japanese story. Ghost in the Shell was a very international story, and it wasn't just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world. That's why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it.

"I think everybody is going to end up being really happy with it. They're going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we've actually done with it, and I don't think anybody's going to be disappointed."

And he clarified the name of Scarlett's character, insisting that she will be known as "the Major", rather than "Major Kusanagi" like the source material.

The live-action adaptation of the hugely popular Japanese anime series will follow a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission, which tries to fight technology-related crime.

The adaptation is being directed by Rupert Sanders - who was responsible for the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman.