'I Mishandled That': Scarlett Johansson Admits She Fumbled Trans Casting Scandal
Scarlett Johansson came under fire after she was cast to play a trans man in a decision she admitted was 'tone-deaf'.
Last July, Johansson was announced to be taking the lead role in 'Rub and Tug' -- a film based on the story of Dante "Tex" Gill, a trans man and major figure in the underworld of massage parlours.
There was an immediate backlash to the casting news and Johansson released a statement simply told those who didn't think a cisgender actor should play trans roles to "be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comments" -- actors who had played trans characters and received acclaim.
Leto won an Oscar for his role in 'Dallas Buyers Club' where he played a trans woman, while Huffman was nominated for her role in 'Transamerica'.
After backing out of the role, Johansson again pushed back on the criticism, telling 'As If' magazine that "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," the actor continued.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, published Tuesday, Johansson conceded she 'mishandled' the entire situation.
Studio Exec Wanted Julia Roberts To Play African American Activist Harriet Tubman
Screenwriter and producer Gregory Allen recently revealed one of the most outlandish suggestions when it came to casting for the historical drama based on the life of African American activist Harriet Tubman.
"I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing -- and how they felt in general about cis actors playing -- transgender people," she said in the interview.
"I wasn’t aware of that conversation -- I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process," she continued adding, "I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling."
The 'Rub and Tug' debacle wasn't the first casting controversy involving the actor. Johansson also faced backlash when she played the lead role in the 'Ghost in the Shell', where she and the production were criticised for 'whitewashing' Japanese characters.
The studio had even reportedly tested CGI effects that could make Johansson "appear more Asian", though film studio Paramount said they were 'immediately' dropped and never involved the actor.
While Johansson walked back her claims about feeling like she should be able to play any role regardless of how that impacts the community the role is centred on, she did refuse to back down on other controversial comments about Woody Allen's innocence.
In September, Johansson was quoted in an interview as saying Allen remains her good friend, and after making three films with him, she would continue to work with him "anytime".
In the Vanity Fair piece, Johansson was asked about if her stance had changed.
"I do understand how that is triggering for some people. But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women," the actress said.
"I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. You can’t have this blanket statement -- I don’t believe that. But that’s my personal belief. That’s how I feel."
You can read the full interview here.
Featured image: Getty Images.