Scarlett Johansson’s been subjected to a fair amount of criticism over a few roles she’s agreed to take on. There was, for instance, the uproar over her casting as Major Mira Killian in 2017's Ghost in the Shell, as her character was based off a Japanese manga. More recently, Johansson dropped out of the (ostensibly cancelled) film Rub & Tug, after she received criticism over being cast as a trans man.
And yet, it appears these controversies have not taught Johansson the importance of casting minority and trans actors in the few roles that exist for them. In fact, according to an interview in As If magazine (the Daily Mail has it) Johansson’s learned...pretty much nothing, blaming “political correctness” for costing her the Rub & Tug role.
Per the Daily Mail:
‘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 point blank.
She continued: ‘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.’
‘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.’
One of the “various social reasons” Johansson cannot play “any person,” to recap, at least where Rub & Tug is concerned, is that transgender actors have had a hard time getting cast as anything other than transgender characters; to have a cisgender actor play a transgender character takes away one of the few roles available to the trans community.
And, of course, there’s the issue of accurate representation, which GLAAD pointed out in a statement shortly after Johansson announced she would drop the role. Per Variety:
“Scarlett Johansson’s announcement, together with the transgender voices who spoke out about this film, are game changers for the future of transgender images in Hollywood,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Hollywood changed how Americans understand gay and lesbian lives, and TV is starting to do the same for transgender people with authentic transgender portrayals being major hits with critics and audiences. The film industry has a real opportunity to do the same.”
This isn’t about “political correctness,” it’s about accurately representing the minority communities that have so long been ignored, mocked, or stereotyped by Hollywood. Johansson’s IMDB list of credits is pretty damn long. She can afford to leave a few roles to the people they’re right for.