Scarlett Johansson criticised for decision to play transgender man in new biopic

Johansson will play Pittsburgh crime boss Dante Gill in Rub & Tug.

July 04, 2018
Scarlett Johansson criticised for decision to play transgender man in new biopic Scarlett Johansson attends the American Museum Of Natural History's 2017 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 30, 2017 in New York.   Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Scarlett Johansson is facing a backlash after it was announced that she will play a transgender man in her next movie role. Johansson has teamed up with Ghost In The Shell director Rupert Sanders for a biopic of Dante 'Tex' Gill, a 1970s Pittsburgh crime boss, in the upcoming Rub & Tug.

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However, Johansson's casting in the role has been perceived by some online as trans actors being passed over for a role they are more suited to than their cisgender colleagues.




The criticism got worse when a representative for Scarlett gave Bustle a comment reportedly from the actress herself, seemingly dismissing the concerns. "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

Felicity Huffman played a transgender man in 2005’s Transamerica, while Jared Leto won an Oscar in 2014 for his performance as a transgender woman dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyer’s Club. Tambor, meanwhile, took on the lead role in the award-winning TV series Transparent.



Johansson and director Sanders were accused of "white-washing" in 2017 when she played a character in Ghost In The Shell originally written as Asian in the poorly-received manga remake.




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Scarlett Johansson criticised for decision to play transgender man in new biopic