Several weeks after receiving harsh criticism for accepting the role of a trans man in Rupert Sanders' upcoming mob drama, Rub & Tug, Scarlett Johansson has officially (and smartly) dropped out of the project. The actress announced the news in a statement to Out magazine:
The statement Johansson referred to was one she released to Bustle earlier this month: "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." Johansson's biting statement was her attempt at validating her casting by pointing to other cisgender actors who have taken on trans roles (and earned praise and awards for doing so), but the comment only served to add fuel to the backlash.
Johansson was set to play the real-life Dante "Tex" Gill, a trans man who operated a massage parlor in Pittsburg that served as a front for prostitution in the 1970s. Sure, Johansson may also be dropping out to avoid yet another casting controversy (yeah, remember Ghost in the Shell?), but irregardless, dropping out was the right call. With the role now up for grabs, it remains to be seen who will play the part. But, seeing how Rub & Tug was being produced by Johansson's These Pictures, it's also possible the film won't be made now after all.