Johansson finds challenge in ‘Ghost’ role : Star of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ faced difficulty playing lonely character

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Johansson finds challenge in ‘Ghost’ role : Star of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ faced difficulty playing lonely character


Scarlett Johansson speaks at a press conference on Friday to promote the upcoming science-fiction action movie “Ghost in the Shell,” which hits theaters on March 29. [YONHAP]

The internationally acclaimed “Ghost in the Shell” has been interpreted in a number of forms such as its original manga (1989) and its adapted Japanese animation (1995). This time, the story arrives in a live-action movie starring Hollywood big names like Scarlett Johansson.

To promote the upcoming film, which is slated to hit theaters later this month, Johansson along with co-stars Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”), Pilou Asbaek (“Ben-Hur”) and the film’s director Rupert Sanders (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) visited Korea and held a press conference in Gangnam, southern Seoul, on Friday.

“Hello and thank you for having us. It’s my first time in Korea. I’ve always wanted to come to Korea and I’m happy to be here with the film I’m incredibly proud of. It’s been quite a journey from the start to finish. I’m very excited to be able to finally present the film to you,” said Johansson, who is well-known for her previous hits like “Her” (2014) and “Lost in Translation” (2004).

Revolving around cyborg field commander The Major (Johansson) - who has been cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s dangerous criminals after going through terrible accident as a human - the story follows her task force, Section 9, which thwarts cyber criminals and hackers. The film sheds light on Major trying to find her identity before she was cyber-enhanced.


Scarlett Johansson plays The Major, who struggles to recover the details of her past, in the upcoming “Ghost in the Shell.” [LOTTE ENTERTAINMENT]

Though it is a fascinating story that has grabbed the attention of many, Johansson initially was not sure of the project when she first read the script.

“It wasn’t immediately apparent how [the script] would be lifted into the project. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be,” Johansson said. According to her, were it not for the director, who worked passionately for a long time to put it into “a beautiful package,” it would have been too abstract.

Playing such a lonely and action-packed character definitely was not easy, even for Johansson, who has been acting for longer than two decades and has been named best actress at numerous film events, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

“It was difficult [playing Major] because I spent five or more months living in a very uncomfortable state. The character experiences betrayal, loss and abandonment. She questions her own brain and thought process and she doesn’t know who to trust. It was a lot to sit for such a long period of time.”

The actress added that although she has played the Black Widow in the Avengers film series, depicting Major’s action scenes was different.

“She (Black Widow) has a kind of defensive style of fighting while Major is more offensive and tactical. So I did a lot of weapon training and tactical training like moving in a group. I trained a lot so I could be as efficient as possible,” Johansson said while stressing that playing Major “required a lot of discipline and training.”

The movie, which runs for 101 minutes, will head to cinemas on March 29. The film’s rating has yet to be decided.

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