Beat Takeshi to Star in Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Takeshi Kitano
Maria Laura Antonelli/REX/Shutterstock

Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano has joined the cast of DreamWorks’ “Ghost in the Shell.”

The live action Hollywood film is an adaptation of the iconic Japanese anime film originally directed by Mamoru Oshii.

Kitano will play Daisuke Aramaki, chief of Public Security Section 9 — and boss of the cyborg cop heroine played by Scarlett Johansson.

Directed by Rupert Sanders, the live-action “Ghost in the Shell” has been slated by fans and commentators for its non-Japanese/non-Asian casting choices, so the inclusion of Kitano, well known abroad for his award-winning films and powerful performances, usually as a gangster or cop, may calm, if not still, such criticism.

Kitano is one of Japan’s top directors and one of the country’s best known actors and comedians. He usually performs under the name Beat Takeshi.

The “Ghost” role follow his recent lead performance in the Wayne Wang erotic drama “While the Women Are Sleeping,” which premiered at Berlin and is currently on release in Japan. It also Kitano’s first Hollywood film since playing a gangster in  the sci-fi thriller “Johnny Mnemonic” in 1995.

Paramount is set as the global distributor of “Ghost,” following a switch from Disney. Release is set for March 31, 2017.

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  1. pcsx says:

    Really? You think this will calm the criticism? All this says is that Japanese people aren’t good enough for leading roles but hey, we’ll toss you a supporting role if it’ll shut you up. The harder they try to power through this mess, the less sense the movie makes. Will Johansson be a white woman in Tokyo, traipsing around a background decorated by helpless Asians? Or will they just excise what they want and transplant it to America, using a dubbed-over Kitano as a half-assed olive branch? Either way, Hollywood’s colorblind casting circus continues, critics be damned.

  2. stevenmillan says:

    It’s a career down for a man who is one of Japan’s top genre filmmakers.

  3. jamm says:

    I don’t understand what they want to do with this film. Kitano is a great actor, but his english is very poor and he is cast as the director of the team, who is well known in the manga/anime as a very outspoken and sophisticated person who gets his message across at all times. How is he going to make that role work in an english speaking movie?

    • therealeverton says:

      Well you’re assuming he’ll be speaking English. Also “Acting English” can be done well. Furthermore , and I get it was a “bigger” deal, role, but Chow Yun Fat learned Mandarin so he could star in Crouching Tiger and did a fine job.

    • Marie says:

      They’ll get someone to dub him?

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