Scarlett Johansson has addressed the casting controversies she became embroiled in over the past few years, maintaining that she should be “allowed to play anyone”.
In 2018, the actor stepped down from playing a trans male character in new film Rub & Tug after receiving widespread backlash for the casting decision.
The move angered many trans actors and queer activists, who argued that there was an entire roster of trans male actors to play the role instead of her.
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In a new interview with As If magazine, she said: “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”
“I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions,” Johansson continued, adding that “society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to fell the way we do”.
Just one year earlier, Avengers: Endgame star Johansson faced criticism upon the announcement she was to play the lead in a live-action version of Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell; fans accused it of being another example of Hollywood “whitewashing”.
In Marie Claire’s March cover interview, Johansson said: “I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”