‘Ghost in the Shell’: Original Anime Voice Actors Will Dub the New Live-Action Movie Into Japanese


Twenty-two years after voicing the characters of Mamoru Oshii’s anime “Ghost in the Shell,” the original voice cast will now reunite to dub the new live-action film into Japanese, as reported by Kotaku.

Atsuko Tanaka, who voiced the original Major Motoko Kusanagi in the 1995 anime is returning to voice Scarlett Johansson’s character, The Major. The actress also voiced the lead character in the sequels “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” (2004) and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” (2005).

READ MORE: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Video Shows How Weta Workshop Made Scarlett Johansson’s Thermoptic Suit

Akio Otsuka will voice Batou as he did in the original anime and its sequels. The actor is also known for voicing Snake in the action/adventure video game series “Metal Gear.” Koichi Yamadera is joinning Tanaka and Otsuka as the voice of Togusa.

“It’s been a while since they’ve played these characters,” Oshii told the Japanese site Natalie.com. “I definitely want them to deliver performances they see fit. They’re all pros, so there’s nothing to worry about, and I can only say that this is something to look forward to.”

READ MORE: Scarlett Johansson on ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Whitewashing Controversy: ‘I Would Never Presume to Play Another Race’

Last year, the casting of Johansson to play the lead in Rupert Sanders’ live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese anime series was met with controversy and backlash. Hiring a white actress to play a Japanese character seemed to critics and fans like another case of whitewashing. Casting the original voice actors to dub the film into Japanese is definitely a way to get in the good graces of fans of Masamune Shirow’s iconic franchise .

“Ghost in the Shell” hits theaters in the U.S. on March 31. So far, a release date for Japan has not been announced. Check out the latest trailer below.

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‘The Little Mermaid’ Trailer: Another Live-Action Remake Is on the Way (Just Not From Disney) — Watch


“Beauty and the Beast” isn’t the only beloved Disney movie getting the live-action-remake treatment. Well, kind of: The upcoming “Little Mermaid” is being produced by Conglomerate Media and Kingsway Productions rather than Disney, but this new take on Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous fairy tale is heading to theaters all the same. Watch the trailer below.

READ MORE: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: Disney’s Animated Classic Gets A Needless Makeover

“Once long ago in the deep blue below,” begins Shirley MacLaine to two youths who claim that mermaids don’t exist. “You wouldn’t say that if you’d met one,” she responds. Here, the mermaid (Poppy Drayton, “Downton Abbey”) is a circus performer known as the Mermaid of Mississippi whose plight inspires a little girl to not only believe in the underwater creatures of myth but attempt to free this one from her captivity.

READ MORE: Rebecca Thomas in Talks to Helm Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Movie Starring Chloe Grace Moretz

William Moseley (“The Chronicles of Narnia”), Loreto Peralta (“Instructions Not Included”) and Gina Gershon co-star in the film, which Blake Harris wrote and co-directed with Chris Bouchard. “The Little Mermaid” is tentatively scheduled for release sometime this year.

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‘Portlandia’: How Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Keep the IFC Comedy Fresh After 7 Seasons


If you make seven seasons of a show, change comes with the territory. It’s something that Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel, the principals behind IFC’s “Portlandia,” acknowledge fully. But the stars and director also point out that what’s made their extended run possible is their ability to play around with the show’s format.

READ MORE: ‘Portlandia’ to End in 2018: IFC Renews Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Sketch Comedy for Season 8, But That’s It

“We’ve had the latitude with which to be experimental,” Brownstein said to IndieWire during the Television Critics Association press tour. “To go from something that started out as pretty traditional sketch, in terms of laying the subject matter, and then working with longer narrative forms in Seasons 3, 4, and 5. And then this year we went back to sketch. So there is an elasticity that I think we really relish.”

“Yeah, I think we evolved, and then kind of came back, but in a different spirit,” added Krisel, who’s been directing “Portlandia” since the very beginning. “It always feels new and different. It doesn’t feel like we’re cranking it out again.”

The writing definitely benefitted as a result of those shifts. “I think we learned a lot about character by doing long-form stories,” Brownstein said. “So even as we were going back to sketch, it felt there has to be a relationship within this sketch. That’s what a lot of the tension comes from. The desire to experiment and keep pushing is how we’ve evolved. You know, just trying new methodologies.”

Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen

One aspect of “Portlandia” that has always been constant is the recurring characters who have appeared throughout the years. “It becomes easier to write for people who you know. And so we started to feel like certain characters represented a certain story or certain traits that we wanted to explore,” Brownstein said. “I think that just helps with the writing process. I think, okay, well, what would Kath and Dave do in this situation? What would Peter and Nance do? What would Toni and Candace do? It’s just a tool to use. When you’re actually dealing with character. You’re not starting from scratch.”

What this meant for Season 7, according to Krisel, is that they can still explore what’s possible with conceptual sketches, “but we can also explore the lives of these characters, because we’ve had these characters for so long. We’ve seen them have children and get married.”

That said, they’ve never felt beholden to make sure every character’s storyline tracks exactly — a choice Armisen compared to the way “The Simpsons” often resets the narrative.

For him, there’s a comfort in resetting certain characters back to ground zero, but “it’s also a little bit like not taking it too seriously. Just remembering that it’s like, a comedy and it’s okay for those characters to come back to where they were.”

Those comments speak to the spirit which has ensured a place for “Portlandia” as one of the great comedy series of the last decade, though Armisen admitted one concern about the process: “Sometimes I think that I worry that we overthink things and then, like last year, it was like we’re underthinking things. So it’s hard. There’s no rule about it. Every year it just changes. Every time I think we’ve got it down, there’s a new angle we should be taking. I keep learning that we keep learning. Because nowhere do we feel like, ‘oh, this is how it’s got to be done for the rest of the run.'”

The Season 7 finale of “Portlandia” airs tonight on IFC. The eighth and final season will premiere in 2018. 

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Brie Larson on Not Clapping for Casey Affleck at the Oscars: The Moment ‘Spoke for Itself’


Any other year, Brie Larson not clapping for Casey Affleck as he accepted his Best Actor prize might have been the most notable moment of the Academy Awards. As we now live on Earth 2 and last month’s ceremony ended in perhaps the most shocking moment in Oscars history, however, it may have slipped past more viewers’ attention. During the premiere of “Kong: Skull Island” last night, the actress more or less confirmed the moment’s significance: “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself,” she told Vanity Fair.

READ MORE: Brie Larson Refused to Clap for Casey Affleck After Presenting Him with the Oscar for Best Actor

“I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic,” she then added. Larson, who won an Academy Award of her own for playing a sexual-abuse survivor in “Room,” is also a prominent advocate for people who have gone through similar experiences. And since Affleck was accused of sexual harassment in 2010 — leading to a case that was eventually settled out of court — Larson apparently didn’t feel inclined to clap for him along with everyone else in the Dolby Theatre.

READ MORE: Casey Affleck Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations After Oscar Win

Affleck was asked about the allegations by the Boston Globe shortly after winning his award for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else,” he said after reportedly pausing and sighing. “There’s really nothing I can do about it. Other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”

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Ethan Coen Wants to Be Donald Trump’s Poet Laureate, Assures the President That He ‘Could Do Verse’


Ethan Coen has an unusual request for Donald Trump: In an open letter published by the Huffington Post, the filmmaker asks to be named Poet Laureate of the United States. “American poetry should enhance America’s greatness, but let’s be honest, Mr. President: lately the poems have been not so great,” begins Coen’s hard-to-deny plea. “The Obama poet laureates were, quite frankly, a disaster. Under their leadership, very weak, much American poetry has failed even to rhyme.”

READ MORE: Ethan Coen Spoofs Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Notes to Bash Fallon and the Media for Election Results

Coen’s credentials are indeed impressive: Along with his brother Joel, he’s won two Academy Awards for his screenplays (“Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”), with four more nominations in the same category. Though not as well known for his verse, Coen did publish the Trump-inspired poem “Be Fair!” on HuffPo less than a week after Trump took office.

“My poetry, on the other hand, always rhymes — and that’s one reason why, when current Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is deported, I should be considered to replace him,” continues the writer/director. Another choice line: the assurance that Trump “could do verse” than naming Coen his Poet Laureate.

READ MORE: Coen Brothers Punched up ‘Scarface’ Remake Script for Universal

Read the full letter:

Dear President Trump:

I ask to be considered for the position of Poet Laureate of the United States.

American poetry should enhance America’s greatness, but let’s be honest, Mr. President: lately the poems have been not so great. The Obama poet laureates were, quite frankly, a disaster. Under their leadership, very weak, much American poetry has failed even to rhyme. That’s like a chicken dinner failing to have chicken. My poetry, on the other hand, always rhymes — and that’s one reason why, when current Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is deported, I should be considered to replace him.

Another reason? Since your election I have supported you in verse. My poem “Be Fair!” was a plea to all would-be Trump-dumpers to give you a fair shake. You should be given a chance to “strut your stuff” as American president; I should be given a chance to “strut my stuff” as United States Poet Laureate. Together, let’s make American poetry great again! Let’s put the chicken back in chicken dinner!

President Trump, many see in me a latter-day Wallace Stevens. He was a poet who made his living in the insurance business; I also will no doubt be remembered as a poet but earn my daily bread by other means. I am a writer, producer, and director in the movie industry, very widely respected — though perhaps not widely enough! Joking, but my point is that in making me Poet Laureate you would build a bridge to the Hollywood community.

Mr. President, you need more than Scott Baio! We hear so much these days about bridges and walls. Let me be your bridge! The arts are not just Rembrandt and Meryl Streep. So many arts, Mr. President, created by so many artists — and if they can all be led to any boring symposium with an open bar, surely, more of them than Scott Baio can be led to you!

As Poet Laureate, I could do that leading! Big talk? Not from someone who’s already succeeded in making your case in the liberal media outlet The Huffington Post. (Read there my celebration of you, “Man of Action.”) I can enlist, engage, persuade, and make kissy noises at people you might dismiss as losers. Losers, maybe. But artistic losers — who vote!

In short, Mr. President, you need more than Scott Baio. Mr. President, my stuff rhymes. Mr. President, I’m like Wallace Stevens.

Mr. President, I respect you, I support you, I implore you: please support me. Read my poetry! Make me Poet Laureate! You could do verse!

Joking, but in all seriousness, I am yours,

Ethan Coen

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