Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt slammed for Ghost in the Shell roles

Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt have been blasted by the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) over their roles in 'Ghost in the Shell'

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Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt have been blasted by the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA).

The pair star in the live-action adaptation of the hugely popular Japanese anime series 'Ghost in the Shell' and have been slammed for taking on roles which MANAA believes should have gone to Asian actors.

MANAA President Robert Chan said in a statement: "Apparently, in Hollywood, Japanese people can't play Japanese people anymore. There's no reason why either Motoku [Scarlett's character) or Hideo (Michael's character) could not have been portrayed by Japanese or Asian actors instead of Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt. We don't even get to see what they looked like in their original human identities - a further white-wash."

However, director Rupert Sanders recently praised Scarlett for doing an "incredible job" of portraying a human robot in the movie.

The 32-year-old actress takes on the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi and the 46-year-old filmmaker was amazed by how well the star subtly acted out the droid's realisation of their human qualities.

British-born Sanders said he feels "so lucky" to have gotten the chance to work with the in-demand Hollywood star.

He said: "At first, the human mind and the machine body was more encapsulated by the machine.

"As the film develops, though, and as she understands more about who she is as a human, she starts to become a bit more human.

"It's a hard one. Scarlett joked a lot about it.

"She said, 'You've taken away everything that an actor relies on to create a character!

"But she did on amazing job of finding the nuance and subtlety of the humanity awakening within a robot.

"It was a very hard performance but she's an incredible talent. I was so lucky to get the chance to work with her on this."

Ghost in the Shell

  • 4 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 107 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Rupert Sanders
  • Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche
  • UK release: 31 March 2017

Major (Johansson) is a human brain harvested from a body that cannot be saved, and placed in a cyborg shell to be an asset to elite crime busters Section 9. Barnstorming action, incredible production design, a nicely diverse cast with Johansson spectacularly measuring up to the role’s physical and emotional demands, and a…

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