Producers of the upcoming movie were accused of whitewashing when they announced last year (15) that the Avengers actress would be playing The Major, based on the character Major Motoko Kusanagi from the popular Japanese manga series.

The furore escalated in April (16) when the first picture was released of Scarlett as The Major, who leads a fictional counter-cyberterrorist organisation called Public Security Section 9.

Those in charge of the movie had remained tight-lipped about the controversy, but producer Steven Paul has now spoken about the decision to cast Scarlett and change the Japanese setting.

“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story," Steven tells "Ghost in the Shell was a very international story, and it wasn’t just focused on Japanese; it was supposed to be an entire world... That’s why I say the international approach is, I think, the right approach to it...

“I think we’ve done the manga comic (a) great honour. As I said, the fans will be very happy, because there’s a great respect that’s been paid to the manga."

He added the crew have been "very, very careful" with the material and that creator Masamune Shirow and manga publishers Kodansha have been supportive and involved in making the movie. He is also convinced fans of the manga series will change their minds once they've seen the finished movie.

“I think everybody is going to end up being really happy with it,” he said. “They’re going to be very, very happy with it when they see what we’ve actually done with it, and I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed.”

A report was published in April (16) claiming the studio had run CGI tests to make white actors appear Asian in post-production, but Paramount executives denied it a statement, insisting the test was never for Scarlett, but for a background actor, and was discarded anyway.

Steven's comments come the day after it was revealed Scarlett was the highest-grossing actress of all time thanks to her films grossing a total of $3.3 billion in ticket sales over her career.