Scarlett Johansson Says She 'Mishandled' Controversy Over Playing Trans Character

Tuesday November 26, 2019

Scarlett Johansson sparked controversy last year after she was cast to play a trans person in a biopic called "Rub & Tug" but told Vanity Fair in a new interview that she "mishandled" the situation.

Johansson was set to star as Dante "Tex" Gill, a transgender man who used massage parlors during the 70s in Pittsburgh as prostitution fronts. The announcement of the actor playing a trans person quickly caused a backlash on social media, with a number of trans actors taking issue with a cis woman playing a trans role.

Johansson responded to the backlash by telling Bustle at the time that people taking issue with her casting "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." Those cis actors have played notable trans roles with Tambor winning an Emmy for his work on "Transparent" and Leto an Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club."

"In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it," Johansson told Vanity Fair. "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," the "Marriage Story" star added. "I felt terrible about it. To feel like you're kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling."

A few days after she responded to the backlash, Johansson left the film, telling Out magazine at the time: "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 realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues."

This wasn't the first time Johansson came under fire for her role choices. There was controversy when she starred in the live-action remake of the anime film "Ghost in the Shell."

Click here to read Johansson's full interview with Vanity Fair.

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