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Scarlett Johansson to star in adaptation of 'Ghost in the Shell'

Scarlett Johansson is set to star in DreamWorks' live-action adaptation of the anime 'Ghost in the Shell'

Scarlett Johansson has plugged into "Ghost in the Shell" and is set to star in DreamWorks' live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime franchise, The Times has confirmed.

Variety first reported that the 30-year-old actress has signed on for the film, which is to tell the story of a covert unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that battles cyber-crime in a future where the line between man and machine has blurred.

Rupert Sanders ("Snow White and the Huntsman") is on board to direct from a script by Bill Wheeler, with Avi Arad and Steven Paul producing.

With her performances as Black Widow in the Marvel cinematic universe and the title character in the Luc Besson action-thriller "Lucy," Johansson has proved herself to be an expert in kicking butt and blasting bad guys.

At the same time, she has also balanced her action career with such critically acclaimed dramas as "Her" and "Under the Skin." Those two films actually explore similar themes as the often-philosophical "Ghost," including the impact of technology on our lives and what it means to be human.

To American moviegoers, "Ghost in the Shell" is probably most familiar from Mamoru Oshii's 1995 anime film of that name, a cult favorite that that helped define the cyberpunk genre and influenced the Wachoswkis' "Matrix" trilogy. ("Ghost" has also spawned comics, video games and TV series.)

For Johansson, Sanders and company, the challenge may lie in delivering a fresh take on a franchise that has become so familiar in pop culture, not only directly but also via the works it inspired.

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