“I wasn’t aware of that conversation — I was uneducated.”
Scarlett Johansson says she “mishandled” the criticism over her role as a transgender person.
Last year, it was announced that the Avengers: Endgame actress was set to star in Rub and Tug, the biopic of transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill (born Jean Gill), who owned a massage parlor in Pittsburgh’s underground sex industry in the 70s.
The casting faced widespread backlash from the LGBTQ community and mainstream media, who questioned why a cisgender actor would be playing the role of a trans character when so few trans actors are able to get roles on the big screen.
Johansson defended her casting, comparing it to Jeffrey Tambor, Felicity Huffman and Jared Leto, all of which have previously played trans characters and received widespread acclaim. Leto even won an Academy Award for his performance.
She later faced scrutiny after saying she should be allowed to “play any person, any tree or any animal”.
The star recently reflected on the controversy in an interview with Vanity Fair and said she was “uneducated” at the time.
“I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it,” she admitted. “I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing — and how they felt in general about cis actors playing — transgender people.
“I wasn’t aware of that conversation — I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that.”
Johansson is currently receiving Oscar buzz for her role in Noah Baumbach’s comedy-drama Marriage Story. The film, which also stars Adam Driver and Laura Dern, has received widespread critical acclaim.
She is also set to reprise her role as Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an upcoming prequel, which is due for release 1 May 2020. It will also feature Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and O.T. Fagbenle.