Scarlett Johansson: ‘I handled transgender role controversy badly’

Scarlett Johansson regrets the way she handled the drama surrounding her casting in Rupert Sanders’ film Rub & Tug.The Avengers actress accepted the role as transgender gangster Dante ‘Tex’ Gill but subsequently stepped away from the project after she …

Scarlett Johansson regrets the way she handled the drama surrounding her casting in Rupert Sanders’ film Rub & Tug.

The Avengers actress accepted the role as transgender gangster Dante ‘Tex’ Gill but subsequently stepped away from the project after she was criticised for taking the part from a real transgender actor.

Johansson originally responded to the backlash by defending her casting and pointing to other cisgender actors, like Jared Leto, Felicity Huffman, and Jeffrey Tambor, who have played trans characters on film and TV, but in a new cover interview with Vanity Fair magazine, she admitted her handling of the controversy was a mistake.

“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation,” she said. “I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing – and how they felt in general about cis actors playing – transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation. I was uneducated.

“I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”

Johansson quit Sanders’ film in July, 2018, telling Out Magazine, “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 realise it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”

It wasn’t the first time Johansson and Sanders caused a stir with a casting decision – they were accused of whitewashing 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, a film in which she tackled a role originally created as an Asian character.

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Kristen Stewart was ditched from The Huntsman: Winter’s War after Rupert Sanders scandal

Kristen Stewart wasn’t involved in the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel because studio executives were “scared of touching” her after her affair with director Rupert Sanders.The Twilight actress starred as Snow White alongside Chris Hemsworth as Eric…

Kristen Stewart wasn’t involved in the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel because studio executives were “scared of touching” her after her affair with director Rupert Sanders.

The Twilight actress starred as Snow White alongside Chris Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman in Sanders’ directorial debut in 2012 but was noticeably absent from its 2016 sequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which flopped at the box office.

Stewart had previously insisted that being caught kissing Sanders – who was married at the time – shortly after the first movie came out had nothing to do with Universal bosses’ decision to focus on Hemsworth’s character for the sequel, but she candidly confessed the fallout from the scandal was the reason during a new interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show.

“We lived in a different time then, you know what I mean? I feel like the s**t-shaming that went down was so absurd. And they should’ve put me in that movie! It would’ve been better. Not to be a d**k, but…” she revealed. “They didn’t put me in that movie because I went through such a highly publicised scandal, and so they were like scared of touching that.”

Sanders was originally down to direct the sequel, but he was subsequently replaced, and the 29-year-old insisted that they could have put their personal issues aside and worked together on the second film.

“Ugh, it wasn’t that big of a deal, you know what I’m saying? The work is so much more important!” the star continued. “We could have made a great second one, and we could have done it in a functional and healthy way. We didn’t ultimately do that, and that’s okay ’cause I did other stuff.

“Basically, what I’m saying is, the work to me genuinely was ignored in a really sort of frivolous, silly, petty way. For a group of adult people who were supposed to be running studios and making films? Honestly, the film industry in Hollywood is so fear-based… I think they’re idiots, because if you take a little risk and make something good, people will watch it and like it and pay you.”

Stewart, who was forced to issue a public apology to her then-boyfriend Robert Pattinson after the pictures went public, told Variety in 2016 she skipped the sequel because none of the scripts were good and was offered a cameo but turned it down.

“It wasn’t a situation where I got kicked off a movie because I got in trouble,” she said. “We had been in talks months after that about making something work, and it never came together.”

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Trace Lysette trolled after hitting out at Scarlett Johansson’s transgender role

Transparent actress Trace Lysette has received death threats after she slammed Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a transgender man.Earlier this week (beg02Jul18), it was reported that Scarlett will reteam with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sande…

Transparent actress Trace Lysette has received death threats after she slammed Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a transgender man.

Earlier this week (beg02Jul18), it was reported that Scarlett will reteam with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders to play Dante “Tex” Gill, who was born Lois, in crime biopic Rub & Tug.

News of the 33-year-old’s casting has not gone down well with the trans community though, with transgender actresses Trace and Jamie Clayton among those speaking out on Twitter.

“Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all? Hollywood is so f**ked… I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis(gender) roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.

“And not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived… so twisted. I’m so done…” Trace wrote before telling her followers: “Death threats for being trans and speaking my mind… nothing new.”

She also fell out with actor Michael Rapaport, who questioned her abilities in comparison to Oscar winner Jennifer.

“Yeah! She can play Y’all. DeNiro can play a Boxers & Killers. Meryl Streep can play everything. Maybe it’s just YOUR skills ain’t ready? Maybe your just not that good (sic)? Jealous A** Hating A** Motherf**ka’s will try anything to further careers, Veiled in social outcry and protest (sic),” Michael, who played Phoebe’s police officer boyfriend Gary in Friends, fumed.

“Or maybe we don’t even get in the room to be considered. You would gag at the skills within the trans community. Do your research,” Trace fired back.

Following Trace’s initial outburst, Scarlett’s representative released a statement to Bustle.

“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” they said, referencing the three stars’ critically acclaimed turns as trans characters.

Trace previously accused her Transparent co-star Jeffrey of sexual harassment on the set of Golden Globe-winning series, accusations he denies. He has since been fired from the Amazon show.

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Scarlett Johansson defends decision to play transgender man in film

Scarlett Johansson has defended her decision to play a transgender man in new film Rub & Tug.Earlier this week (beg02Jul18), Deadline reported that the actress would be reteaming with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders for a movie about Jea…

Scarlett Johansson has defended her decision to play a transgender man in new film Rub & Tug.

Earlier this week (beg02Jul18), Deadline reported that the actress would be reteaming with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders for a movie about Jean Marie Gill, also known as Dante “Tex” Gill, a Pittsburgh crime kingpin and massage parlour owner who used a male identity.

Scarlett’s casting in the role received instant backlash from a number of social media users, but in a statement issued via her representative to Bustle on Wednesday, she dismissed any criticism.

“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” she reportedly told the outlet.

Scarlett’s response refers to cisgender actors who have taken on transgender roles, with Jeffrey playing a transgender woman in TV show Transparent, Felicity portraying a transgender woman in 2005 film Transamerica and Jared Leto taking on the part of Rayon in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club.

Among the comments on Twitter, many users noted that they would have liked to have seen a transgender person in the role.

“Literally the LEAST you could do when making a movie about trans people is to cast a trans person in the role that was written for them,” one user wrote on Twitter, while another added: “No offense to Scarlett Johansson but there are many beautiful trans women in the world, and I MEAN MANY…so ask Hollywood to keep looking!”

One of the people to criticise Scarlett’s casting in Rub & Tug was April Reign, the activist behind the #OscarsSoWhite campaign in 2015. She pointed out that the 33-year-old star was also accused of whitewashing her character in Ghost in the Shell, which was based on a Japanese manga figure.

“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,” she wrote.

Scarlett is currently filming Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and is also attached to star as Marvel character Black Widow in a standalone movie.

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Scarlett Johansson reteaming with Rupert Sanders for Jean Marie Gill biopic

Scarlett Johansson is reteaming with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders for a new movie about real-life Pennsylvania lesbian crime boss Jean Marie Gill. Rub & Tug will chronicle Gill’s rise as a kingpin in 1970s Pittsburgh, creating an emp…

Scarlett Johansson is reteaming with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders for a new movie about real-life Pennsylvania lesbian crime boss Jean Marie Gill.

Rub & Tug will chronicle Gill’s rise as a kingpin in 1970s Pittsburgh, creating an empire of illicit massage parlours and growing rich as part of an anabolic steroids ring that included American footballers and celebrities, all while masquerading as a man.

The film has been an in-demand project for weeks, with New Regency studio bosses winning an auction to take charge of the movie over five other bidders, according to Deadline.

The rest of the cast has yet to be announced.

Gary Spinelli wrote the script for Rub & Tug and the film will be produced by him, Joel Silver, Tobey Maguire, and Johansson, among others.

Sanders and his leading lady will be hoping their new project will be more successful than their last – Ghost in the Shell was a critical and commercial flop upon its release last year (17), amid casting criticism.

Comic book fans and several Asian-American celebrities criticised the moviemakers for casting Scarlett in a role they insisted should have been filled by an Asian actress.

It wasn’t Sanders’ first brush with controversy – he wrecked Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s romance when he enjoyed a brief fling with Stewart while they were working on 2012 film Snow White & The Huntsman.

The affair, which came to light when the couple was caught kissing in a car park, ended the filmmaker’s marriage and the Twilight star’s relationship with Pattinson.

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