Michael Pitt Boards Ghost in the Shell

Michael Pitt will play The Laughing Man opposite Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie

Michael Pitt (Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire) has, according to a story today at The Hollywood Reporter, joined the cast of the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie opposite Scarlett Johansson. According to the trade, Michael Pitt will play the hacker villain known as The Laughing Man.

The Laughing Man, who made his debut on the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, is an expert hacker famous for using his expert skills to remove his face from all digital images, including peoples’ cybernetic eyes. Instead, he replaces his visage with his animated logo (pictured above) and circling text that reads, “I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes,” quoting J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

Announced last year, the Ghost in the Shell movie is set to be directed by Snow White and the Huntsman‘s Rupert Sanders from a screenplay adapted by Straight Outta Compton‘s Jonathan Herman, who took over from previous writers Jamie Moss and William Wheeler.

The new Ghost in the Shell movie will offer a live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s iconic cyberpunk manga series about the members of a covert ops unit that take on technology-related crime. “Ghost in the Shell” was famously adapted into an animated feature in 1995.

Produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul, the Ghost in the Shell movie also has the backing of Steven Spielberg. The rights to Shirow’s original manga were picked up several years ago with plans to use the latest 3D technology to film it. In Japan, the huge success of the original “Ghost in the Shell” comics have led to a number of anime film adaptations, a TV series and a series of video games.

Last fall, it was reported that Sam Riley was in talks for a villain role in the film. It is currently unclear whether or not Riley was up for Laughing Man role or if the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies star is still connected to the upcoming live action film.

Look for the Ghost in the Shell movie to hit the big screen March 31, 2017 through Paramount Pictures.

(Photo credit: Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com)