Scarlett Johansson Dismisses Criticism Over Her Decision to Play Transgender Man in New Film
Scarlett Johansson has rejected the idea that it is problematic for her to play a transgender character
Scarlett Johansson has rejected the idea that it is problematic for her to play a transgender character.
The actress, 33, is set to star in the upcoming film Rub & Tug which tells the story of a transgender man, Dante “Tex” Gill, who owned a massage parlor in Pittsburgh’s underground sex industry in the 1970s, according to Vice News.
In a statement obtained by Bustle, the actress said via her representative, “Tell them they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
A rep for the actress did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
However, her latest choice in movie role is already being criticized on social media.
“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 tweeted. “Scarlett Johansson needs to stop naively choosing roles, and studios need to do better.”
“I cannot get over how selfish Scarlett Johansson is,” another user tweeted, while a second one wrote, “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!”
In recent years, actors and actresses have taken on roles in which they’ve portrayed transgender people.
Felicity Huffman portrayed a transgender woman in 2005’s Transamerica, while Hilary Swank won the Oscar in 2000 for Boys Don’t Cry.
Jared Leto also joined the fray, winning the Oscar in 2014 for his performance as a transgender woman dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyer’s Club.
Johansson’s last film controversy stemmed from her decision to portray an Asian character in the film Ghost in the Shell. She was accused of whitewashing the character, which was based off of a Japanese manga character.
Fans of the manga began a petition to recast her in 2015.
In 2017, Johansson responded to the backlash, telling Marie Claire she “certainly would never presume to play another race of a person.”
“Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive,” she said.
“Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity,” Johansson added. “Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that — the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”