DreamWorks’ live-action thriller Ghost in the Shell has gained its villain.
Michael Pitt will play the Laughing Man in the Rupert Sanders-directed adaptation of the classic manga tale. Hollywood Reporter exclusively broke the casting news. Pitt is best known for his work in Boardwalk Empire and NBC’s Hannibal. He will be seen later this year in Criminal, alongside Ryan Reynolds.
Ghost in the Shell originated with Masamume Shirow’s Japanese comic books. It grew into a media franchise comprising video games, an anime TV series and a much-loved 1995 animated feature.
The story is set in a dystopian cyberpunk future where most of the world is interconnected through an electronic network. It is accessed by cybernetic bodies known as shells. Members of a covert task force known as Section 9 fight against cyber crime.
The squad’s leader, is cyborg Motoko Kusanagi. Scarlett Johansson will lend her star power and action prowess to the role. She will be battling Pitt’s villain, a hacker capable of hijacking peoples’ cybernetic brains. Danish actor Pilou Asbæk will play Johansson’s second-in-command Batou. Asbæk worked with Johansson before in Luc Besson’s 2014 sci-fi Lucy.
By the time Ghost in the Shell is released, Game of Thrones Season 6 will have aired and Asbæk will be known worldwide as Euron Greyjoy.
Straight Outta Compton’s Oscar-nominated Jonathan Herman has reworked the Ghost script. Previous versions were penned by William Wheeler and Jamie Moss.
Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing. Michael Costigan, Jeffrey Silver, Tetsu Fujimura and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa will serve as executive producers. Worldwide distribution will be handled by co-financier Paramount.
Rupert Sanders is notorious for directing the Kristen Stewart vehicle Snow White and the Huntsman. He is apparently set to start filming Ghost in the Shell in New Zealand later this February.
The movie certainly has some impressive talent on-board. Look out for it in cinemas come March 31, 2017.
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