Following backlash from the LGBT community, Scarlett Johansson has revealed that she is stepping down from the upcoming film project, Rub & Tug.
In a statement released exclusively to Out Magazine, Johansson said “While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”
The backlash to her casting was fueled following her initial comment via a representative to Bustle saying: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
After the news of her pulling out was revealed, GLAAD described it as a game changer in Hollywood’s portrayal of the transgender community in a statement received by Deadline.
“Hollywood changed how Americans understand gay and lesbian lives,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, “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.”
Scarlett Johansson was going to play transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill, who owned a string of massage parlors in Pittsburgh that were fronts for prostitution in the 1970s and 1980s.
Prior to her announcement, INTO released a video of trans men auditioning for some of Johansson’s roles
Watch a video by Screen Crush on the importance of Hollywood casting trans actors.