Scarlett Johansson is undoubtedly one of the biggest A-list stars in Hollywood. Her filmography consists of the MCU franchise, Her, Lost in Translation, Lucy, and more, which will make any actor jealous. However, the high-profile actress has also come under fire for her foot-in-mouth comments.
It can’t be denied that Scarlett Johansson has become infamous for her controversial comments regarding a variety of issues. But arguably, she came under blistering fire for wanting to play a transgender man in a movie. What made the situation worse was her defending her right to play the character amid extreme public criticism.
Scarlett Johansson Defended Her Right To Play A Transgender Character
A couple of years ago, Scarlett Johansson was initially cast as Dante ‘Tex’ Gill, a transgender man, in Rub & Tug. The film was going to be inspired by a real-life trans man operating a massage parlor and prostitution business during the 70s. But the LGBTQ community and their allies opposed a cisgender woman playing a trans character.
As the conversation around representation was heating up in Hollywood, many said that by accepting the role, Johansson was contributing to the erasure of trans people. Initially, Johansson stood her ground and tried to direct people’s attention to all the previous cisgender actors who had played trans characters and received accolades for it.
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She told Bustle, “Tell them (people objecting) that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Jared Leto, who was also Johansson’s ex after dating her in 2004, played a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club. He won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Actor in a supporting role.
Jeffrey Tambor portrayed a trans woman on Transparent and Felicity Huffman played a trans woman in Transamerica. However, no one paid any heed to her comments as people were seemingly desperate to right the wrongs of the past and they wanted to begin with the Black Widow actress abandoning the project. In the end, they were successful.
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Scarlett Johansson Apologized For Her Comments About Playing A Trans Character
In an interview with As If magazine, Scarlett Johansson defended her right to play any character she wanted because as per her, art shouldn’t have any restrictions on expression. The actress said:
“You know, as an actor, I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job. 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.”
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However, the Match Point actress soon rescinded her words when social media scrutiny reached its zenith. The star then released a statement saying that she understood why her remarks might have come across as insensitive. Johansson said:
“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”
The Marvel star apologized for misjudging the situation and being tone-deaf. The actress further added that she now agrees that the character of Dante Gill should be played by a trans person. In 2020, Deadline announced that Rub & Tug was being developed into a TV show with plans to cast a trans actor as Dante Gill.