ScarJo Defends Her Right “to Play Any Person, or Any Tree, or Any Animal”

Scarlett Johansson is clearly still feeling some type of way about the swift backlash to her controversial casting last summer as a transgender man, Dante “Tex” Gill, in the film Rub & Tug.

“Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen,” Johansson says in a new cover story for As If magazine. “You know, as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because that’s my job and the requirements of my job.”

“There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art,” the Avengers: Endgame star adds. “I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions. I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.”

Johansson, Hollywood’s highest-paid actress, also came under fire for whitewashing the Japanese lead character in the 2017 film Ghost in the Shell.

She ultimately “decided to respectfully withdraw” from the Rub & Tug role amid much criticism from LGBTQ actors and activists, including Sense8’s Jamie Clayton and Transparent’s Trace Lysette, who called her out on taking an opportunity away from a trans actor.

“While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film,” Johansson said in a statement. “I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.”

Johansson had initially addressed the casting controversy with a callous statement referencing other cis actors who took trans roles: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.


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