Scarlett Johansson Backs Out of Role as Transgender Man in Upcoming Movie
Following nearly two weeks of backlash, Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from her role in the upcoming film Rub & Tug, where she was set to portray a transgender man.
Facing intense criticism for taking the role when others felt a transgender actor could have had the part, Johansson issued a statement to Out.com announcing her departure from the film. “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues,” she told the publication.
“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," the actress added.
The move has been praised by transgender actors, directors and artists in Hollywood, who commended Johansson for dropping out of the film. "Scarlett deciding to pull out was a good example of listening to the community and that was the right thing to do," said producer Rhys Ernst to The Hollywood Reporter.
Rub & Tug will tell the story of Dante "Tex" Gill, a trans man who ran a massage parlor and prostitution business in Pittsburgh throughout the 1970s and '80s. When Johansson was announced to play Gill, the actress was met with immediate backlash.
The Avengers actress originally defended her role in the film, telling critics, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”