Scarlett Johansson has once more faced a major backlash for one of her roles.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed the star will reteam with Rupert Sanders, who directed her in Ghost in the Shell, in Rub & Tug; a film which will see her play Dante “Tex” Gill, a trans man who became notorious in Pittsburgh during the late 70s and 80s, opening a string of massage parlours which authorities believed to be “little more than brothels”.
An announcement which, unsurprisingly, found heavy criticism for casting a cisgender woman in the role of a transgender man.
In response, Johansson’s rep provided comment to Bustlefrom the actor herself: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
All three actors mentioned faced criticism for playing trans characters – and all three have expressed that the criticism levelled at them, to some degree, was valid.
“I certainly understand the sentiment that a trans actor should play a trans role. And I support it,” Huffman said in 2014. Leto confessed he would “probably pass” on the role of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club if he were offered it today, despite winning an Academy Award for his performance.
When Tambor accepted an Emmy for best lead actor in a comedy in 2016, he stated in his acceptance speech: “I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.”
Both Johansson and Sanders similarly faced accusations of whitewashing for her role in last year’s Ghost in the Shell.