Back in November, it was announced that Sam Riley, who can be seen falling in love and fighting zombies in this weekend's new release PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES, had been cast as the villainous Laughing Man in director Rupert Sanders' live action remake of the popular anime GHOST IN THE SHELL. That deal must have fallen apart somewhere along the line for some reason, because it has now been announced that the role of the Laughing Man will be played in the film not by Riley, but by FUNNY GAMES' Michael Pitt (pictured above in Hannibal).
I'm not very familiar with Riley, whereas I have seen Pitt in various things over the last decade and a half. He's an interesting screen presence who makes a fine villain. The Laughing Man is described as "the ultimate hacker" and "a bitter and vengeful man with a body that is part robot."
He'll be going up against Scarlett Johansson, who stars as a
special ops cyborg who leads an elite task force called Section 9 for Hanka Robotics. Section 9 is devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, led by The Laughing Man, whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka’s advancements in cyber technology.
Also in the cast is Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, who will be playing Batou, the best fighter in Section 9.
Paramount has GHOST IN THE SHELL set for a March 31, 2017 release.