Scarlett Johansson says she ‘should be allowed to play any person’ after quitting trans role
Scarlett Johansson, who quit her role in Rub & Tug last year after anger at her being cast as a transgender man, says she “should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal.”
The Avengers: Endgame actor waded back into the debate over cisgender actors playing trans roles in an interview with As If magazine.
“Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen,” Johansson 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.”
When asked whether she should only represent her gender and ethnicity, or whether she can play roles that are “beyond these categories,” Johansson said, “There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art.”
Scarlett Johansson also criticised for ‘whitewashing’
The Avengers star sparked outrage in June 2018 by agreeing to take on the role of real-life trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in Rub & Tug.
LGBT+ activists had hit out at the film for casting the Hollywood star instead of a trans actor, given the lack of opportunities for trans stars.
Johansson was initially defensive of the film, telling people upset by the decision to contact Jeffrey Tambor and Jared Leto – both of whom also controversially played trans people on screen – for comment.
However the actor then confirmed that she was stepping back from the project.
In 2017, she also faced a backlash for being cast as a traditionally Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell. The film came under fire for whitewashing, as the character Johansson played was Japanese in the source material.
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person,” she said at the time. “Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”
Johansson was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood last year, earning $40.5m between 2017 and 2018.