Scarlett Johannson was to play the role of Dante “Tex” Gill in Rupert Sanders Rub & Tug, but she opted out of the role as she had to face a lot of backlash for her decision. In a statement, she said “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive,” said Johansson, who added that she had “great admiration and love for the trans community.”
“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 actor added.
Talking about this, many critics came up on social media to express their views. Jen Richards, who is a trans activist and the creator of web series Her Story, complimented Johannson for stepping down. “If you’re tired of hearing about it, you can’t imagine how tired trans actors are of talking about it,” Richards said on Twitter. “We just want to work. And with more trans and nonbinary people, of all kinds, participating, the work will be a better and richer representation of our world. This is a win.”
BREAKING: Scarlett Johansson will not play transgender character Dante 'Tex' Gill in Rub & Tug. Read her exclusive statement to OUT. https://t.co/kERkKUVILO— Out Magazine (@outmagazine) July 13, 2018
Jamie Clayton, a transgender actor who stars in Netflix’s Sense8 said “Actors who are trans never even get to audition for anything other than roles of trans characters,” ″That’s the real issue. We can’t even get in the room.”
it feels pretty fucking awesome that someone finally listened. speaking out, getting angry, making our perspectives heard does make a difference: https://t.co/9OKrG3EIyh— e. oliver whitney (@cinemabite) July 13, 2018
It is currently unclear who will be playing the role.