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November 05, 2016  Comments are off Ghost In The Shell

One of the big questions I had when I got to visit the set of director Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell while it was filming in New Zealand earlier this year was whether or not the movie would be an original story or if it would borrow anything from the previously released animated movies or the manga series. Since the previously released stuff was filled with great storylines, I assumed they would use at least some of it. I was right.

However, I need to take a step back. For those not familiar with Ghost in the Shell, it explores what it means to be human. When you can copy your consciousness to another body, when do you stop being human? Is it your body or mind or both that makes you who you are? In addition, in the world of Ghost in the Shell, hackers can plant memories in your head and the recipient can’t tell what’s real or fake. The world of Ghost in the Shell tries to deal with real issues in a technologically advanced world.

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Image via Paramount Pictures
In the film, we’ll follow Scarlett Johansson as The Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out advancements in cyber technology. Loaded with an all-star international cast featuring Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo, the film should be something extremely cool when it opens in theaters March 31, 2017.

Regarding what storylines the live-action movie might use, during a group interview conducted on set, producer Avi Arad told us

“We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze. The Kuze story. The big thing we are doing here is that we’re not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by that episode of Affection in Second Gig. It’s bits and pieces of those mixed together.”
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Image via Paramount Pictures
He went on to explain why:

“There are outside villains but they are never the most interesting parts of a movie, especially your first movie. I find that part of the reason we didn’t do Puppetmaster in this movie was we didn’t really feel like we had time to tell that story, and in your first movie the way the characters feel about themselves and the relationship with those people that they care about is usually more than enough story for a movie to handle. So there are villains and they do drive a lot of the story, but they are really there to antagonize her spiritually.

The villains in the story are people that are abusing this brave new world. The movie certainly addresses this whole idea of in the future, if you think about everybody’s biggest fear around technology is about getting your identity stolen (which is really just your credit record) as apposed someone hacking your brain could happen here. The more technology gets inside of you and the more it’s woven into your life the more that people can abuse it. So there are characters, both at a criminal level and a governmental level, who are abusing technology and doing scary things.

Ghost hacking is a big storyline in the movie and in some ways we take it even further. This idea of if someone could change your memories, what would that do to your sense of self? After you meet that garbageman and you see him in the interrogation room. You’re like ‘that guy’s gone’. You could have a really interesting movie about that guy trying to put his life back together. Being told you don’t have a wife and kids that you thought you did is a big hole.”
ghost-in-the-shell-2On what you might recognize from some of the animated movies, Arad revealed:

“You’ll recognize some things from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence like the geisha bot. A lot of the time when you see futurist movies either it feels very beautiful and removed and clean or you have to go down a grimy, dystopic world. Rupert was chasing something else that was more similar to the source where it felt really tactile and tangible and you had things like cables even though wireless makes more sense. If you look at the original, the guys’ hands break off and type. Even in 1995 the idea that if you talked to a computer you’d type really, really fast didn’t make sense. That’s where we are coming from a lot of the time.”
On what sequences they might have pulled from the manga or previous animated films, Arad sounded like they lifted a bit from the original animated movie:

“Everything we pulled from the movie is because we thought it was cool. There’s a whole thermoptic sequence with the garbageman. We did that because we thought it was really cool. What was interesting about Ghost in the Shell is that it was never really a predictive future. It was more about a future that was meant to provoke a feeling in the audience and that’s guided design as much as if we were to hire a bunch of engineers and physicists and futurists to predict things. That’s the same kind of philosophy in this movie. There are things here that are more tangible like the cables or the (lack of finger-splitting) hands. Even the cars. In every version of Ghost in the Shell you’d never see a flying car. Everything felt like it had a combustion engine. It was all about making it feel chunkier and more tangible aesthetic and a mix of an overly dense urban area.”
As a big fan of the animated movies, I really like what Avi Arad told us on set. But beyond what he said, I got to visit the art room and saw what kind of world Sanders was trying to create and it looked beyond cool. Trust me, when you combine the themes of Ghost in the Shell with the vision that Sanders has for the material, I’m extremely confident the finished film is going to be something special.

Ghost in the Shell opens March 31, 2017. For more from our set visit:

Credit: collider.com/





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