Since news broke of Scarlett Johansson's casting as Ghost in the Shell's Major, the actress has been the recipient of plenty of backlash. To some fans, Major, a Japanese manga character, had become yet another big role Hollywood had "whitewashed."
In a recent interview with Bustle, the 32-year-old opened up about those claims.
"I would never presume to play a race that was not mine. Ever," she said. "I think diversity in Hollywood is an important conversation to have, and I think it is something I totally understand, and support."
The actress, who is currently shooting the next film in the Avengers franchise, Infinity War, is far from the first to defend her casting. During an interview with IGN, director Mamoru Oshii said Major's status as a cyborg shielded her from any presumption of ethnicity.
"What issue could there possibly be with casting her?" he wondered. "The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name 'Motoko Kusanagi' and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply."
"Our cast is incredibly diverse," she told Bustle, "and it was really important for [director] Rupert [Sanders] to have this film, this universe, feel very international and... have all these cultures kind of mixing. So that was our take on it."
Catch Ghost in the Shell in theaters March 31, 2017