Live-Action Ghost in the Shell Writer Talks About the Script

January 31, 2010
Source: MoviesOnline, Screen Rant

Ghost in the Shell

It was first announced almost two years ago that Steven Spielberg would be developing a new live-action adaptation of the beloved manga Ghost in the Shell. Since then we've heard bits and pieces regarding the project, but they still haven't really progressed past the development stage on it. We also learned last October that Shutter Island writer (and Avatar executive producer) Laeta Kalogridis would be writing the script for Spielberg. While out promoting the release of Shutter Island, both MoviesOnline and Screen Rant (via Anime News Network) caught up with Kalogridis and asked her about the latest on the adaptation.

The first, and arguably the most important, question Kalogridis is asked is whether she's adapting from the 1989 manga written by Masamune Shirow or the 1995 anime directed by Mamoru Oshii. Here's her answer:

"Ghost in the Shell was originally the manga. The anime came from the original graphic novel and then -- and that anime, as you know, is a relatively famous, groundbreaking piece of material -- also generated two seasons of an animated television show as well. And this is an adaptation of the original manga, the original comic book that sort of began everything."

When Screen Rant caught up with Kalogridis, they tried to get "a few answers on some key points I know you Ghost in the Shell fans have been wondering about." That question was, essentially, the same as above, regarding whether they'd be adapting from the manga or anime - her answer was the same (the manga). But she also added that it has "a lot of action… lots of action." That's certainly expected, but always good to hear. She also said, "there's still going to be a lot of atmosphere – [the movie] is about vast possibilities – all of this technology, the internet – it's about the limitless possibilities of this technology." Sounds perfect.

I'm sure our next update on Ghost in the Shell won't be for a while, as Kalogridis has to turn in her script, then Spielberg and DreamWorks will review it, and who knows when it'll ever see the light of day again. I'm excited to see this new live-action anime/manga craze kick off in Hollywood, but right now none of the projects have been given a greenlight. For now it seems like Ghost in the Shell is in the right hands - at least it sounds like Kalogridis is crafting a worthy adaptation of Masamune Shirow's manga. Do you agree?

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I want this to be good, If "Ghost in the Shell" is successful then Cowboy Bebop may happen if I could see both "Ghost in the Shell" and "Cowboy Bebop" done properly on the silversceen and not in 3-D I will be able to die happy!

Xerxex on Jan 31, 2010


This seems like a movie right up James Cameron's alley. Imagine Cameron working with Steven Spielberg it would be epic.

Silvers on Jan 31, 2010



Michaeljpehel on Oct 5, 2011


looking foward to this happening, this and the live action evangelion movie.....anything new on that front?

ray on Jan 31, 2010


Ghost in the Shell has 2 manga books, 52 episodes, 3 movies, and 4 books, any one of those stand alone stories can make an epic film in my opinion.

ram on Jan 31, 2010


I love Spielberg so I know this will turn out pretty good

Dan W on Jan 31, 2010


Seems like Hollywood has been wanting to do this forever. (longer than 2 years) Probably gonna be forever til they start shooting the movie. Oshii's anime is fantasis, would be a awesome movie. To bad it'll be in 3d.

Frightened Inmate #2 on Jan 31, 2010


That's Fantastic!

Frightened Inmate #2 on Jan 31, 2010


Yeah more nihilism!!! *angry face*

Dan on Jan 31, 2010


will this be distributed by DISNEY?

mC iVAN on Jan 31, 2010


I want to say No! Why do they always want to make a movie out of these great animes. Majority of the time they mess them up.

M on Jan 31, 2010


being an anime fan,personally i don't think this should be made,dragonball z & speedracer are classic examples why,don't get me wrong i would love to see a film version,but their is a good chance it will turn out shit so i'd rather they didn't bother.I'D RATHER SEE GHOST IN THE SHELL 3RD GIG.

tobi,leader of the akatsuki on Feb 1, 2010


First it was Comic Books, then the 80's throw back, now I guess the next big thing for Hollywood is Anime.

The One on Feb 1, 2010


I agree with tobi, leave it alone. Although it sounds like a great thing to see it live action it never turns out that way. There is so much that can be done in anime that can't be done live action no matter how hard they try. Just give us more anime.

Moviegimp on Feb 1, 2010


Epic fail.....get your paws off my manga and anime you damn dirty apes!!

This is going to suck on Feb 1, 2010


if spielbergs involved and the script is solid, i'd eargerly anticipate it. In my opinion Dragonball Z isn't the kind of movie that could ever have been made right, especially in the wrong hands, I couldn't even watch the trailer more than once. I know mad people hate on Speed Racer, but i think the wachowski bros did a better job than anyone could have, actually produced a damn good film out of it, and got me to see something I would have never otherwise seen. i think people are too easily and quickly critical of the material and the style they applied to it.

pedro pistola on Feb 1, 2010


exactly what xerxex said....i could die happy then.

lego on Feb 1, 2010


Done properly this could be the next Matrix. Been a great franchise for decades...

RPD on Feb 1, 2010


I agree with the second comment written by Silvers this is right up James Cameron's alley. if Steven Speilberg and James Cameron teamed up on this movie or any movie it would be one of the most epic movie ever made. Im a huge fan of ghost in a shell although I doubt that they will have James Cameron as director im happy to see that it is at least in Spielberg's hands in some way.

Drisc87 on Feb 1, 2010



Michaeljpehel on Oct 5, 2011


PLEASE NO CAMERON ON THIS!!! Im sorry guys, Ghost in the shell is extremely involved and requires a lot of attention, attention and details that cameron is not strong on..the character development is important and for the most part depend on very involved plots..everything cameron is known to NOT be able to do! Im not dissing the guy or avatar so dont turn this into that (theres plenty on the avatar threads) Im a fan of the books (I, II and 1.5) movies (I and II) and the two anime series (and I agree..just about any of those episodes, especially stand alone complex, would make for a great movie!)

lando on Feb 2, 2010


Who's playing the Major? Or Batou?

John Urie on Feb 3, 2010


This could easily be an awesome film. My only concern is they, put too much effort on making it action packed when what makes ghost in the shell is the whole "what is human" aspect. Like it's predecessor, Blade Runner. (maybe predecessor isn't the right word to use)

QuickSilver on Feb 23, 2010


lets all remember why GITS was a great manga.... was it the action NO, thus "a lot of action… lots of action." is not a good sign at all. despite what you believe alex. "I'm excited to see this new live-action anime/manga craze kick off in Hollywood" REALLY???? you obviously haven't seen their recent attempts then, because they are all SHIT!!! "For now it seems like Ghost in the Shell is in the right hands" NO! "in the right hands" would be on the other side of the world in Mamoru Oshii's hands. i am yet to see that Laeta Kalogridis can write a script even approaching the complexity of GITS SAC, let alone the films or manga. "Do you agree?" NO, and neither do the vast majority of real gits fans. this shall be another atrocity along the lines of speed racer and dragonball. hollywood should ^&%$ off and come up with its own ideas.

surruk on Feb 23, 2010


Okay... my thoughts... They need Ridley Scott to direct this movie. He has to work with Masamune Shirow and Mamoru Oshii and make this thing awesome... Ridley Scott has to do it. Spielberg is trying to (quoting something said about Blade Runner) "sell it to an audience that wouldn't 'get it'"

QuickSilver on Mar 8, 2010


I'm sorry, but the writer has no clue as to what Ghost in the Shell is. It has never been about action and the unlimited possibilities of the internet, the story of Ghost in the Shell is more of the philosophic interpretation of society's evolution. The net was merely a medium for the evolution of the societal structure of humanity. I understand the need to sell a "Dumbed down" product to the masses, but the second you dumb down something as complex as Ghost in the Shell, you cease to represent what it stands for, and instead diminish it. Ghost in the Shell should reflect closer to a blade runner-esque type story, instead of the idea of "actioning" it up and focusing it around the "limitless possibilities of the internet". Focus on the characters, focus on the society, do NOT focus solely on the technology and action. If Spielberg really cares about what Ghost in the Shell represents and if Shirow Masamune really care, then they will not let this get watered down to something a hollywood hack like this screenwriter would enjoy. And please, never let James Cameron touch the script, it will turn into a bad fanfiction a la twilight by some wholly impossible way that only James could do. Ridley Scott would be brilliant to take over GitS. I, as a person who enjoys watching GitS, am extremely worried that this will turn into a flaming pile of crap that has been every single one of the attempts at mimicking anime and video games by hollywood. Though, if some of the rumors are true, Production IG might be working on another GITS to coincide with the movies release, Kenji Kamiyama's schedule looks relatively clear for the next year. One can only pray for another GITS anime.

AloysiusKnight on May 5, 2010


Done like SAC (not the boring movie) this could be a cool futuristic cop movie.

jonneylee on May 20, 2010


I've a fan since the first manga and I don't understand the fear opinions. Anything Spielberg or Cameron or Calogridis do won't damage the existing material (wich we love) so, let's see what they do. It may be shit but it may be awesome as well. Looking forward here! 🙂

seburo on Jun 1, 2010


@Seburo that's what they said about Star Wars and we end up with Chewbacca and R2D2 being spies for Yoda @_@ BUT I am hoping this comes to fruition very very soon!! I am still waiting for live action Akira.

Ram on Jun 1, 2010


Spielberg is going to completely F___ this up. GITS has such depth and is so visually aggressive that I don't believe that he can capture the feel of it. Honestly I don't think any director can. GITS should be left as is.

Katchew on Jun 21, 2010


@ Seburo Kalogridis is a hack. Let me point out some of the crap she's written. Pathfinder, Alexander, and Bionic Woman. All of these were absolute garbage, I wouldn't buy Pathfinder or Alexander from a bargain bin, even if I had a gun to my head. Bionic Woman was a shallow remake of the original, all sexed up no content. Birds of Prey was one of the few things I enjoyed. Shutter Island was okay, not great, just okay. She has better success as a producer, but lo and behold, I see only Avatar and Shutter Island. So she has a specialty of riding coat-tails, just fantastic. And I'm sorry, Cameron is good? He hasn't been good since Terminator, the guy is worse than Lucas is in creating crappy movies to jerk his own ego with because he has sycophants surrounding him. As to Spielberg, he hasn't produced anything in the last 4 years that really did anything for me, I point out he produced Transformers or as I call it "Micheal Bay's explosion orgy" Oh wait, he also produced Revenge of the Fallen, okay, his stock is junk as well.

AloysiusKnight on Jun 27, 2010


Charlize Theron as the Major.

deeboo on Jul 1, 2010


Did you see Aeon Flux? No Way would I ever accept her as Major.

K_explorer on Jan 26, 2011


Whenever I hear that my favorite cartoon or anime is to be adapted into a live action movie, my heart races, I run and tell everyone I know and I could not be happier that a wider audience will finally be exposed to an idea that I hold near and dear. However, history suggests that large American production conglomerates are far ineffective in their adaptation of material for a mainstream audience. Honestly, I don’t think this is because the writing, producing and directing talents are not there, it’s not that they can't be found - it's just that the Hollywood - mass-media system is just not capable of making it happen. The few people that usually have the money to buy up big name scripts are well-intentioned and talented individuals, but the truth of it is, even if they are fans, it is unrealistic to expect that they consume media in the same way average fans do. They see the previously completed material as an obstacle, as competition, as incomplete - and they want to bring they're Movie expertise and million-dollar budgets to complete the work and make it better. This has ruined Dragon-Ball Z for me, it has de-spirited Avatar: The Last Airbender, and inevitably, it will destroy Ghost in the Shell. Selling to such a big audience in a feature length theater film just does not fit with the character of this show unless it is done precisely and with an understanding that it might fail financially. But this will not be, they will pump it up with action, violence, sex and neo-technology so that millions upon millions stream into theaters across the nation for it; and in doing so, they will leave out the underlying social, ethical and ontological philosophy that really made the manga, movies and TV series a huge hit with fans. I agree that a movie needs to be financially viable, but then maybe that’s an argument not to adapt this legendary franchise. However, if you are willing to take on the project, please, I beg you, take a risk and learn what this series really talks about. Don't leave out the action, sex and tech, but if you really want to make this movie a success, you cannot afford to leave out the philosophy. You simply can not! Honestly, I never have and probably will not ever read the manga - just not my personal style. But I am such a HUGE fan of the TV Series and the movies. And truthfully, the first movie was not that great as a movie. It is just incredibly difficult to cram so much technological and philosophical setting into ANY movie (it took The Matrix an entire movie to do just that). But the first movie did something incredibly smart, the actual story line is very, very short and they focused on the characters and the philosophy - what is a person? What is the line between intelligence and sentience? These questions, and many more, are what made this movie and the series more than just another anime - those questions made them an epic to behold. - You CANNOT just repeat any of the movies; they don't leave room for much improvement - except maybe plot wise (ha-ha). Best bet is to follow the series or the second movie. - You will have to DUMB IT DOWN! Just be cautious, because the intelligence is what will make or break this movie. - Don't be afraid to fail in the box office. Real Fans will show up time and time again for a Real Movie. Trust the Fans of Ghost in the Shell, Trust the Fans of Good Anime, Trust the Fans of Great Movies, and let the "average American" watch it twice before they understand the movie. I am still so happy that this is getting adapted; I’m still excited that Spielberg is on board with the project; I will still run around and tell everyone I know whenever I hear new developments about the project. But please, please, please – in the name of all Real Fans, don’t screw this up!!

Sloppy G on Jul 3, 2010


All I know is that when I see this movie it better be so good it can be considered Canon. I even consider Major Motoko Kusanagi my alter ego, that's how much I connect with her. The idea behind the Manga is what makes it so wonderful. I think it would do the writer some good if she collaborated with GITS Committe Writers for the Anime. If this movie flops it won't be THAT much of a dissapointment for the Series as a whole it will just be discarded like it never existed lol lost in the annals of the net.

K_explorer on Jan 26, 2011


i think this will be crap without any depth concentrate on 3d action and crazy stuff, with hudge budget and on the end we will be have almost no storyline with 3d effects (avatar)

pandulec on Jan 27, 2011


Man, Live-action could never capture the brilliance of the mid-movie montage with the 'Making of a Cyborg' theme. That is one of my favourite movie scenes of all time.

Jamie on Mar 29, 2011


It's always an unknown quantity when anyone takes an original source material and tries to adapt it for the big screen, i am a huge fan of the Original GITS and loved the reissue on Blu-Ray adding new visuals and better sound, but the heart and soul of the film is the philosophy and the messages it is trying to convey to the viewer, Hollywood will probably air on the visual side as its industry is based on developing effects studios and the like, but with the right producer/director they could do it justice. Always the eternal optimist.

Jamesking on Jun 24, 2011


Get ready for asians complaining about white people being cast for the roles... even tho all of the characters look white.

Guest1911 on Jan 21, 2012


Blade Runner blah...blah... read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and then you will agree with me when I agree w/ the guy that said "hollywood go get your own ideas." Quit messing up classics!

OneofThoseDeaf-Mutes on Mar 20, 2012


I'll take more G.I.T.S any way they dish it. The anime and manga are great and this is one franchise that would translate brilliantly to film. Thing is Mr Spielberg. We dont want you to fuck with our beloved characters. Maybe he should take a step back and ask anime fans what the characters mean to them, read the manga, watch the films. Then make a brilliant new adaptation with a slighty newer future of tech in mind. The movie box set was released 22 years ago when I was born. Technology and our impreshion of how it will be in the future needs updating to make this as groundbreaking as it was back then. Thanks, much love

Caf Hack on May 4, 2012


I think Natalie Portman would be perfect for the role of Motoko, she has very subtle yet pretty features that remind me of Motoko's. And not to mention, she is a great actress.

mandapanda on Sep 24, 2012

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