Amagansett resident Scarlett Johansson will play Dante “Tex” Gill, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania crime boss and transgender man (physically born a woman), in an upcoming film, Rub & Tug. Gill, who rose to wealth and power running massage parlors, prostitution and drugs in the 1970s and 80s, has a fascinating story, but Johansson is already feeling the backlash from the transgender community, which is calling for an actual transgendered actor to play the role.
Rupert Sanders will direct. The pair previously worked together on Ghost in the Shell, which also drew controversy for casting Johansson as robot Major Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese character in its anime source material.
“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman‘s reps for comment,” Johansson said in response to critics, according to Bustle. All three cisgendered actors played trans characters in hit projects: Tambor in Amazon’s Transparent, Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, and Huffman in Transamerica.
A group of transgender men returned fire with a parody video featuring them auditioning for various Johansson parts in her films, such as Ghost World, He’s Just Not That into You, Her and The Avengers, to name a few. One trans actor, who’s offered the Johansson role in Her, turns it down, explaining, “Cis women are actually really marginalized in Hollywood…I know that there are people who have lived this experience who would bring a lot of authenticity to it, and I feel a little weird about taking that from them.” Watch the video below.