Last summer, Scarlett Johansson kicked up controversy by signing onto portray a transgender man, crime kingpin Dante “Tex” Gill, in Rub And Tug. She quickly dropped out of the movie but also issued a strange statement to As If magazine about how “as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal” as part of her profession. However, much of the associated criticism pointed out how Johannson, as a cisgender woman, had scooped up a role that many feel should have been played by a trans person.
In a new cover interview with Vanity Fair, the Marriage Story star seems to have reflected upon the matter more. She now admits that her reaction to the backlash was “misjudged” and “tone deaf,” and she claims to have learned from the experience:
“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. 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. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”
This isn’t the first time that the Avengers actress felt backlash for a casting decision, given that she previously reaped outrage for playing a character written as Japanese in Ghost In The Shell, but Johansson appears to have at least taken the Rub and Tug matter seriously. However, she’s still standing by her support of director Woody Allen following allegations of sexual abuse made by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. When quizzed about how people might find her “tone deaf” for this perspective as well, Johansson answered, “Yes, they will. It feels like a snake eating its tail, doesn’t it?”
Read the full interview here.
(Via Vanity Fair)