Actress Scarlett Johansson is no stranger to getting backlash for her choice of roles, but her latest one may be the most insensitive of them all. In her upcoming movie Rub Tug she plays a real-life trans-male character.
Rub Tug is described as a mob drama about Dante “Tex” Gill, a larger than life character who is in the process of transitioning from female to male. Thanks to his illicit massage parlors, Gill became the crime kingpin of 1970s Pittsburgh. Johansson has signed on to play Gill. The film is directed by Rupert Sanders, who also directed Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. After the casting was announced April Reign, who was part of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, tweeted “Scarlett Johansson received considerable backlash for Ghost in the Shell, when she played a whitewashed Asian character. The movie tanked. Undeterred, she has teamed up WITH THE SAME DIRECTOR to play a trans male character in Rub Tug.”
Johansson’s representative responded to the controversy, which Reign also sent out in her Tweet. “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment” the statement said.
While Johansson’s statement does bring up a valid point that other actors have played trans characters in the past, she could have responded with a little more sensitivity in the matter. It sounds very dismissive instead of addressing the issue. Perhaps more will be said in the future, but for now a lot of people aren’t happy with this casting news.
Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson on Wikipedia