“I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes.”
~J.D. Salinger, Catcher In The Rye
Cyberpunk fans and harboiled anime nerds know Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex as the series which brought Masamune Shirow‘s science fiction noir drama back into the limelight. The upcoming Hollywood live-action adaptation has received a lot of flak since it was announced, but it seems as if the film is finally about to enter the final stages of development in earnest, with the studio having officially cast the series’ main antagonist, Laughing Man.
Michael Pitt (veteran of such shows as Hannibal and Boardwalk Empire) has been cast in the role of the anti-social uber-hacker. If you are not familiar with the show, think of the Laughing Man as the craziest person in its universe, a man with the computer skills to eliminate his face from every Internet archive, including any user’s augmented cybernetic eyes, only to replace it with a revolving logo featuring the above Salinger quote.
What is interesting, however, is that despite this latest announcement, it was rumored that Sam Riley (of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies) was involved in talks about being cast as a villain of the film. So far, the studio has not made any further announcements regarding the actor, however, so it’s entirely possible that the Laughing Man won’t be going up against the world all by his lonesome.
Another very interesting bit of info regarding the movie is that the film currently has the backing of legendary director Stephen Spielberg, who supports producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul to bring the legendary manga to the silver screen, after the film remained in development hell for several years, but was apparently halted due to budget constraints, since it was planned to be one of the cutting edge visual 3D films at the time. The film that is currently in development will be directed by Rupert Sanders (director of Snow White And The Huntsman) and will be based on a screenplay written by Jonathan Herman (of Straight Outta Compton fame). The previous screenplay, written by Jamie Moss and William Wheeler, has apparently been abandoned.
The film is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017 and will star Scarlett Johanson in the leading role.