Scarlett Johansson responds to criticism about her comments regarding trans role

Johansson said she should "be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal,” following criticism after she was cast for a role playing a trans person.

Scarlett Johansson smiling

Scarlett Johansson has come under fire for saying she “should be allowed to play any person” after quitting a trans character role. The world’s highest paid actress left the film Rub and Tug to be directed by Rupert Sanders following criticism from the LGBT+ community.

She was set to play the role of trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill who operated massage parlours that served as fronts for prostitution in 1970’s Pittsburgh.

The Avengers star received criticism due to the history of cis-actors playing trans roles when they are so rarely afforded to actual trans people.

The controversial comments arose during an interview with What If magazine. When asked about trends in acting Johansson said: “Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen.” Following on she said, “I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal.”

In 2017 Johansson also faced backlash for being cast a Japanese character in Ghost In The Shell. The film was accused of whitewashing. Speaking about this she remarked: “Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”

The Hollywood star claimed that her controversial comments in her What If interview were taken out of context for “clickbait.”

“I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness,” said Johansson. 

She continued to recognise the privilege of cis white actors:  “I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours Caucasian, cisgender actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to.”

Other cis actors who have played trans roles include Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club and Benedict Cumberbatch in Zoolander 2.


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