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Scarlett Johansson trans movie may be cancelled after star drops out

Nick Duffy July 17, 2018

Scarlett Johansson (Noam Galai/Getty for New York Magazine)

The director of trans movie Rub & Tug has suggested that the film could be scrapped altogether after Scarlett Johansson quit the project.

Johansson dropped out of the film Rub and Tug on July 13 after widespread anger at reports she would play real-life trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill on screen.

The Avengers star was initially defensive of the film, telling people upset by the decision to take it up with Jeffrey Tambor and Jared Leto – both of whom also controversially played trans people on screen. However in the face of a sustained backlash Johansson opted to walk away from the project.

Scarlett Johansson revealed on Friday that she would no longer be playing a transgender man in an upcoming film (VALERIE MACON/Getty)

The star had urged the production team to recast the role with a transgender actor – but now reports are suggesting the project may be canned entirely.

The Wrap reports that insiders say things “don’t look good for the movie”, which has not yet gone into production.

The outlet suggests that the film, which still has director Rupert Sanders attached, is likely to shelved rather than recast with a transgender lead as activists had wanted.

It is currently unclear if Johansson’s production company These Pictures, which was signed on to produce, is still involved in the project in any way after the star dropped out as its lead.

In her statement to Out magazine on Friday, Johansson had said: “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.

“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 realise it was insensitive.”

She added: “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.

“According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”

Scarlett Johansson arrives for the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. - The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute. The Gala's 2018 theme is Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Johansson at the 2018 Met Gala. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty)

Johansson added her backing to the role being recast with a transgender actor, saying: “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.”

The late Gill’s cousin Barry Paris previously added his voice to those insisting the film should be cast with a trans lead.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Scarlett Johansson attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Johansson (Jemal Countess/Getty)

Paris told The Wrap: “I think it’s slightly more likely he would have liked to be played by a man because he identified as a man.

“I’m sure he would have liked to have been played by a transgender man, but in his day that was very rare.

“He totally identified as a man from the time my cousins and I first knew him. He was always overtly masculine.

“He hated to be called ‘she,’ and that’s what the police always did, and the papers. It annoyed and upset him.”

More: actor, Cast, Film Reviews, movie, rub & tug, Scarlett Johansson, Trans, Transgender

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