Scarlett Johansson is reuniting with Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders to play a trans man in upcoming movie Rub & Tug.
The Ghost in the Shell remake was hit with accusations of whitewashing with Johansson cast as the film’s cyborg protagonist, who was named Motoko Kusanagi in the original Japanese anime and manga series. Now, Johansson’s casting as a character with a different gender identity in Rub & Tug has provoked fresh ire.
The actor will play Dante “Tex” Gill, a real-life figure who was a massage parlor owner in ’70s Pittsburgh before his death in 2003. His mafia-protected massage parlors were fronts for prostitution and he was convicted of tax evasion in 1984, spending seven years in prison. This latest controversy concerns Johansson’s casting as a trans man despite being a cisgender woman.
In response to those querying the casting decision, a representative for Johansson issued a statement to Bustle on the actor’s behalf: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” All three of the actors named have played trans characters in the past, with Tambor starring in Transparent until he was relieved of his role after sexual harassment allegations, Leto playing trans woman Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, and Felicity Huffman playing a trans woman in Transamerica.
Scroll through some of the reactions to the casting below, ranging from tongue-in-cheek jokes to suggestions of boycotting Johansson’s work. Let us know your thoughts about the move in the comments below.
Scarlett Johansson is playing a trans man in her next movie because her ultimate career goal is to take an acting job from a member of each and every marginalized group.
— Faith Choyce (@faithchoyce) July 3, 2018
Scarlett Johansson has proven time again that she is not much of an ally when it gets in the way of her personal advancement. I hope this new movie will be rewarded in the same way as GitS – mediocre reviews and a box office failure.
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) July 3, 2018
at this rate scarlett johansson might play me in my biopic
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) July 4, 2018
You’re making a movie about a fat, Trans man who was a crime boss and Scarlett Johansson is the first name that comes to mind? Really? https://t.co/P3Vnb91HRp
— @red3blog (@red3blog) July 3, 2018
What’s next? Is Scarlett Johansson going to play Barack Obama?
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 4, 2018
On playing a trans man in her new film, Scarlett Johansson sounds dumb as hell pic.twitter.com/5ycags4iR8
— Ira (@ira) July 4, 2018
Yeah, I'm gonna avoid Scarlett Johansson movies moving forward after her response. Even if this topic were complex (and it's not: trans people should play trans people), flippantly dismissing concerns over this new role really says a lot about her views regarding trans people.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) July 3, 2018
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