Scarlett Johansson is at the center of another casting controversy. After getting roasted for starring in Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett flirted with the idea of playing a transgender man in Rub & Tug.
Now, she’s defending her decision to take on roles that some people think should go to minority actors.
ScarJo graced the cover of As If Magazine this week, and the question of her choice of roles came up. After they worked together on Ghost in the Shell–where she played a Japanese character in an android body–Scarlett decided to team up again with director Rupert Sanders for a biopic of Dante “Tex” Gill called Rub & Tug.
The Tex Gill was a transgender man who ran a massage parlor that was a front for a prostitution ring in the 1970s. And, for the record, he looked nothing like Scarlett Johansson. Then again, the magic of makeup transformed Charlize Theron into Aileen Wuornos in Monster, so maybe ScarJo could have pulled off the physical look of the character.
But the real question was whether Scarlett–as a cis-gendered white actress–should take on roles that might be more appropriate for minority actors instead.
She didn’t handle the criticism well last year, and apparently, she’s still salty about the idea that she can’t play any role that she wants.
During the interview, Scarlett was asked about the idea of political correctness in casting decisions. Here’s what she had to say:
I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal.
That’s a direct quote from the magazine, but ScarJo went to Entertainment Weekly to defend herself when this story broke. She claims that the interview had “been edited for clickbait and is widely taken of context.”
She told EW that she thinks “any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness.”
Scarlett went on to acknowledge that the entertainment industry “favors Caucasian, cis-gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to.”
Actions speak louder than words–especially when those words sound like a carefully crafted PR apology.
Scarlett also bragged about the perks of being one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, explaining that “acting is very lucrative, and most of the time I can go to a restaurant without a reservation. That is the biggest perk.”
Stars! They’re just like us. Except that movie stars like Scarlett Johansson don’t have to worry about the petty concerns of us mere mortals.
Do you think that Scarlett should feel free to play any role she wants? Is it kind of weird that she implied Japanese and transgender people are the same as animals and trees?