Scarlett Johansson has found herself a surprising niche in the last few years: the sc-fi genre. From starring in Under the Skin and Lucy to having an off-screen role in Her, Johansson has attached herself to really interesting films that stand out on her resume while she continues to fulfill her role as Black Widow in The Avengers franchise. She seemingly continued the trend when it was announced she will be starring in Dreamworks’ live-action adaptation of the anime Ghost in the Shell. The project slowly started coming together after her casting was announced, with the news that filming is set to begin in early 2016 as well as the addition of Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton) to “overhaul” the script. Now, another role has been filled in preparation for production.
Per Variety, Sam Riley (On The Road) is in talks to board the project. He’ll be playing the villain, but as the story revolves around a special ops cyborg tasked with stopping dangerous criminals who threaten advancements in cyber technology, Riley could be an upper-tier henchman or the big bad. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is still set to direct the story based on Masamune Shirow’s Japanese comics of the same name.
Next to Johansson, Riley has a much lighter footprint on celluloid. His biggest turns have been in Maleficent and the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as On the Road, so it’s hard to judge the impact of his casting. However, Riley is involved in the upcoming Free Fire, which has a cast that includes Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley, so he certainly is familiar with working with stellar actors. Regardless, we will all find out when Ghost in the Shell is released on March 31, 2017.