This time last year – literally this time last year (July 14, 2018) – Scarlett Johansson dropped out of the biographical film Rub & Tug in which she was to star as Dante Tex Gill, a trans man. Following bulk backlash, the actor released a statement saying she had decided to “respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.” Initially, she dismissed critics and responded by pointing them in the direction of fellow actors – Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman – who had all previously portrayed trans characters.
The year before that, Johansson faced a heap of criticism when she starred as Motoko Kusanagi, the lead in Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell.
Now in a new interview with As If magazine, via Daily Mail, Johansson opened up about the backlash she received and it’s a bit of a yikes. In short, she said she believes political correctness – a “trend” – is restricting the roles actors can and cannot do.
“You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job,” she said.
“I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions.”
Of political correctness specifically, she shared: “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.”
I’m sure Johansson would make a fine tree and / or animal but personally, to compare a non-human role with an underrepresented role that could be more accurately cast with a great minority actor is a bit, uh, shit. But hey, that’s just me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯Image: Getty Images / John Phillips