Scarlett Johansson says she should ‘be allowed to play any person’ after Rub & Tug casting controversy

Avengers star stepped down from playing trans male role in 2018

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Sunday 14 July 2019 08:18
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Scarlett Johansson has addressed the casting controversies she became embroiled in over the past few years, maintaining that she should be “allowed to play anyone”.

In 2018, the actor stepped down from playing a trans male character in new film Rub & Tug after receiving widespread backlash for the casting decision.

The move angered many trans actors and queer activists, who argued that there was an entire roster of trans male actors to play the role instead of her.

Johansson had earlier acknowledged those who criticised her decision to star in the film with a statement that read: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”

She later called her comments “insensitive” and 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.”

Now, in a new interview with As If magazine – which the Avengers: Endgame star is now claiming has been “edited for clickbait” – 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,” Johansson continued, adding that “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”.

Just one year earlier, criticism was sparked upon the announcement Johansson was to play the lead in a live-action version of Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell; fans accused it of being another example of Hollywood “whitewashing”.

In Marie Claire’s March cover interview, Johansson said: “I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”

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Earlier this week, Johansson’s Avengers salary was revealed. The staggering amount ranks her among the top five highest-paid Hollywood stars for her role of Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

You can find a ranking of every Avengers character – from worst to best – here and a list of every new Marvel film expected to be released over the next decade here.

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