First Look: Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell'

Jasin Boland
Scarlett Johansson as the Major in 'Ghost in the Shell'

The film hits theaters on March 31, 2017.

On Thursday, Paramount and DreamWorks Pictures released the first image from Rupert Sanders' upcoming anime-based live-action thriller Ghost in the Shell.

The film is based on a Japanese comic book series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. Scarlett Johansson stars as the Major, a "special ops, one-of-a-kind human cyborg hybrid" leading an elite task force called Section 9, which fights criminals and extremists.

Boardwalk Empire alum Michael Pitt is playing the villain, Kuze, known as the Laughing Man in the manga. The antagonist is a bitter and vengeful man with a body that is part robot. He has a unique sense of style and has been described as a bad guy filtered through the lens of a street artist.

Top Japanese film talent Beat Takeshi Kitano is playing Section 9's chief of public security, Daisuke Aramaki. Ghost in the Shell is his first Hollywood role since 1995, when he starred opposite Keanu Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic.

Other castmembers include Kaori Momoi, Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet and Pilou Asbaek as Batou. Section 9 task force members are played by Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.

The movie is filming in Wellington, New Zealand, and is expected to hit theaters on March 31, 2017.

Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul are producing the film, with executive producers Michael Costigan, Tetsuya Fujimura, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Jeffrey Silver.

"We are so pleased to be in Wellington to shoot 'Ghost in the Shell,'" Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael Costigan and Jeffrey Silver said in a joint statement. "The city boasts state-of-the-art production facilities and a rich urban landscape that make it an ideal setting for a sci-fi action film. The crew base in New Zealand working on the film is first-class, and working with Sir Richard Taylor and the team at Weta Workshop is inspirational on every level. The people of New Zealand have been terrific partners in helping us bring this story and its beloved characters to audiences around the world, and we are thankful for their continued hospitality."