Scarlett Johansson Has Withdrawn From Biopic Following Backlash
Following a whole lot of backlash, Scarlett Johansson will no longer star as transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill in the biopic Rub & Tug.
“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” Johansson’s statement to Out Magazine reads. “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”
Johansson continues, writing, “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. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.”
Her statement comes shortly after Gill’s cousin, Barry Paris, gave an interview speaking on the controversial casting.
“I’d say it’s a toss-up, but I think it’s slightly more likely he would have liked to be played by a man because he identified as a man,” said Paris to TheWrap. “I’m sure he would have liked to have been played by a transgender man, but in his day that was very rare.”
Scarlett’s latest statement is a complete 180 from her previous one, when the news of her casting was initially announced a little over a week ago. Her rep told those complaining to “be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” referring to three people who’ve played transgender characters and have also been criticized for their roles in the past.
Johansson was similarly heavily criticized for taking on the role of Major in Ghost in the Shell, who was a Japanese woman in the original anime film.