Scarlett Johansson is reuniting with Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders to play a trans man in upcoming movie Rub & Tug.
The Ghost in the Shell remake was hit with accusations of whitewashing with Johansson cast as the film’s cyborg protagonist, who was named Motoko Kusanagi in the original Japanese anime and manga series. Now, Johansson’s casting as a character with a different gender identity in Rub & Tug has provoked fresh ire.
The actor will play Dante “Tex” Gill, a real-life figure who was a massage parlor owner in ’70s Pittsburgh before his death in 2003. His mafia-protected massage parlors were fronts for prostitution and he was convicted of tax evasion in 1984, spending seven years in prison. This latest controversy concerns Johansson’s casting as a trans man despite being a cisgender woman.
In response to those querying the casting decision, a representative for Johansson issued a statement to Bustle on the actor’s behalf: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” All three of the actors named have played trans characters in the past, with Tambor starring in Transparent until he was relieved of his role after sexual harassment allegations, Leto playing trans woman Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, and Felicity Huffman playing a trans woman in Transamerica.
Scroll through some of the reactions to the casting below, ranging from tongue-in-cheek jokes to suggestions of boycotting Johansson’s work. Let us know your thoughts about the move in the comments below.
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