'Ghost in the Shell' Trailer Unveiled at Tokyo Launch Party

Scarlett Johansson and Takeshi Kitano joined director Rupert Sanders, who spoke to the media about the whitewashing controversy, his reimaging of the story and the possibility of sequels.

The first full trailer for Ghost in the Shell was released Sunday evening at a global launch party featuring Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano and director Rupert Sanders.

Paramount, which co-produced and is distributing the film, flew journalists from around the globe to Tokyo for the event, where the two-minute trailer was unveiled.

Johansson plays The Major in the reimagining of Mamoru Oshii's seminal 1995 anime film, with the character renamed from the original Motoko Kusanagi after the whitewashing criticism of the casting.

"There are very few actresses with 20 years' experience who have the cyberpunk ethic already baked in. I stand by my decision — she's the best actress of her generation," said Sanders in response to a question about the casting controversy while talking to the media after the event.

Sanders called Johansson "the cyberpunk queen," though the actress expressed reservations about doing more films in the genre in the immediate future.

"I've been a body without a mind and a body, and a mind without a body. Next I want to be a mind and a body," she said.

Japanese actor and director Kitano said his friends refused to believe he was going to be working with Johansson when he first told them, and said he was jealous of the budget for the film.

"You could make about 100 of my films for the money used to make this," said Kitano.

Sanders said he has taken elements from the Ghost in the Shell films, the anime TV series and the original Masamune Shirow manga for his take on the story.

"I don’t think you could have taken the 1995 film and just remade it frame-by-frame — it’s too philosophical and too introspective," he said. "That’s what so many people like about it, and I hope we’ve channeled that but built a bigger film around it."

The British helmer also left open the possibility of sequels.

"If people like it and we have to make another, where do we go? We're not waiting for a sequel, but we didn't kill her [The Major] off," said Sanders.

The U.S. release is set for March 31.