2018-07-06 16:10:10 UTC
Scarlett Johanssonwho likes to occupy minority roles in films and then say
self-protective nonsense when it inevitably causes controversyis set to star in
the upcoming film Rub & Tug, which details the life of trans man Dante Tex
Gill, famous for operating a massage parlor and brothel in 1970s/80s Pittsburgh.
Johansson responded to criticism of her playing the role of a transgender person
by stating, Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto,
and Felicity Huffmans reps for comment, in a moment of true tone deaf beauty.
Days later, Chilean director Sebastian Lelio, famous for his Oscar-winning 2017
film A Fantastic Womanwhich stars trans actor Daniela Vegaaddressed the
criticism, telling The Hollywood Reporter:
Its true [that] cultural representation has been scarce so far. And its also
true that the gesture of casting a cisgender actor to play a transgender role
can be aesthetically or ethically debatablebut it should never be prohibited.
When I decided to cast Daniela Vega to play Marina in A Fantastic Woman, it was
an act of artistic freedom, not political correctness. I wasnt telling the
world that transgender roles should be played by transgender actors. I was only
doing what I felt was right for my film.
This isnt Johanssons first casting controversy, of course. For the 2017 U.S.
adaptation of the Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell, Johansson played the
canonically Japanese cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi. Producers reportedly
attempted to make her look more Asian, which she later denied, along with any
whitewashing. I certainly would never presume to play another race of a
person, she , told Marie Claire that year. Diversity is important in
Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that
was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is
such a rare opportunity. Producer Steven Paul came to her (and his own) defense
by saying the film was an international story.
History certainly repeats itself.