Actress Scarlett Johansson is producing a new movie about the controversial real-life story of a transgender man who became rich and powerful by running a prostitution ring in Pittsburgh — but it’s Johansson’s decision to take on the lead role for herself that has raised eyebrows among LGBT activists. Johansson, who faced criticism last year for playing the role of a Japanese cyborg in the Rupert Sanders Hollywood remake of Ghost in the Shell, will work with Sanders once more for the new biopic Rub & Tug. The film dramatizes the life of Dante “Tex” Gill, born Jean Marie Gill, who, despite debate over whether he identified as transgender, was known for “[insisting] that she was a man,” according to an obituary from his local newspaper.
A publicist for Johansson has defended the actress’s decision to star as Gill by pointing out that Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman — none of whom are transgender — have all won critical acclaim for depicting transgender characters. But some activists, including April Reign, who became famous for launching the #OscarsSoWhite movement, accused Johansson of “[taking] work away from a trans actor.”
“Rub & Tug isn’t your movie, ScarJo,” she wrote. “No need to monopolize.”
We've seen male & female actors in the past few years walk away from roles so that a person who could bring a more nuanced experience to the character was allowed to shine. That is what should happen here. Rub & Tug isn't your movie, ScarJo. No need to monopolize. #OscarsSoWhite pic.twitter.com/auwZEeVTtH
— April (@ReignOfApril) July 3, 2018
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