Michael Pitt
Michael Pitt as been cast as the stylish villain Laughing Man in the forthcoming movie adaptation of manga series Ghost In The Shell Neilson Barnard / Getty

Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal) has been cast as the main villain in upcoming sci-fi movie Ghost In The Shell, a live-action thriller based the manga comics of the same name. He will star opposite Scarlett Johansson in the adaptation, which is being directed by Snow White And The Huntsman's Rupert Sanders.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson will star in the lead role opposite Pitt Jason Merritt / Getty

Pitt is set to play a character from the initial series called the Laughing Man. But don't be fooled by the name! The antagonist is a nasty and vengeful human/robot hybrid who has an individual sense of style. He has been described in the past as being a 'bad guy filtered through the lens of a street artist'.

Johansson will play the lead; a special-ops cyborg named Motoko Kusanagi, who operates under a task force called Section 9 that deals with the most dangerous criminals and extremists. Her specific mission this time? To take down a particularly vicious computer hacker.

Ari Arad, Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing the project, while Michael Costigan, Jeffrey Silver, Tetsu Fujimura and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa are executive producing. Straight Outta Compton's Jonathan Herman and Street King's Jamie Moss penned the script, inspired by Masamune Shirow original stories.

Ahead of its scheduled release date on 31 March 2017, filming is expected to begin later this month on location in New Zealand.

Pilou Asbæk, who will be seen in the upcoming sixth season of Game Of Thrones, will also star in the film. It has been rumoured that Sam Riley could feature as well.

Pitt will next be seen in indie art film The Sleeping Shepherd opposite Imogen Poots, Criminal, a thriller that also features Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot and Gary Oldman. Johansson is soon to appear in cinemas in Joel and Ethan's epic comedy Hail, Caesar! alongside a star-studded cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum and George Clooney.

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