The pressure worked | Photo: Flickr/Inside the Magic
Scarlett Johansson has decided to leave the movie Rub & Tug following the backlash to her playing a transgender man.
She was cast in Rupert Sanders’ new movie earlier this month, which saw her playing the real-life figure of Dante ‘Tex’ Gill.
The project also reunited Johansson and Sanders, who previously collaborated on Ghost in the Shell. That movie whitewashed and straightwashed its character and was ultimately a flop.
‘I’ve learned a lot from the community’
Johansson released a statement announcing her withdrawal to Out magazine.
‘In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,’ she 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.’
She then referenced GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index and the lack of LGBTQ representation.
‘According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40 percent in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.
‘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. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.
‘My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.’
Respect characters’ identities
Initially, Johansson gave a rude and tone-deaf response to her casting, name-dropping other cis actors who have played trans roles.
It is not the first time actors have come under fire for playing characters outside of their own identity. Johansson previously played an Asian character in Ghost in the Shell, as did Emma Stone in Alohoa.
Preventing this from happening, and taking responsibility, is a step forward.
Last year, Daniel Dae Kim replaced Ed Skrein in an Asian role in the Hellboy reboot after Skrein stepped down.