Scarlett Johansson claims comments on Rub & Tug casting controversy were 'edited for clickbait'

Avengers star received backlash after saying she 'should be able to play anyone'

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Monday 15 July 2019 07:13
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Scarlett Johansson has claimed that her recent comments seemingly addressing the casting controversies she became embroiled in over the past few years were “edited for clickbait”.

The actor, who – in 2018 – stepped down from playing a trans male character in new film Rub & Tug following widespread backlash, maintained that she should be “allowed to play anyone” in a new interview.

However, Johansson believes her quotes were placed within the As If interview “out of context” to how she’d originally said them.

“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” the Avengers: Endgame star told Variety. “The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art.

“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. That is the point I was making, albeit [it] didn’t come across that way.”

Johansson, whose decision to star in Rub & Tug angered many trans actors and queer activists and whose lead role in a live-action version of Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell; fans was accused of being another example of Hollywood “whitewashing”, clarified her stance on the subject

“I recognise that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to,” she said.

“I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

In the wake of the initial backlash to her Rub & Tug casting, Johansson 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.”

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Her original quote in the new interview that was obtained by Daily Mail, 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”

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.”

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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