EDIT: A representative for Scarlett Johansson sent the following statement from the actress to ComicBook.com: "An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context. The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art. I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn't come across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to. I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included." The original story follows.
Avengers star Scarlett Johansson has found herself in the midst of two major casting controversies within the past few years. First, the world's highest paid actress played Major Mira Killian in Ghost in the Shell, a live-action adaptation of Japanese manga. Then shortly thereafter, Johansson was cast as crime boss Dante "Tex" Gill, a trans male, in Rub & Tug.
Though she's typically remained quiet about the online backlash, the actor opened up in a recent interview with AS IF Magazine. As Johansson explains in the magazine's cover story, she feels she should be able to play any role she deems fit, regardless of a whole variety of factors.
“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,” Johansson said. “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.”
“I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do," the actor added.
Though Ghost in the Shell made it to theaters, the early backlash over Rub & Tug prompted Johansson to part from the film, presumably sending it to its death bed. Since Johansson's departure, no additional casting has taken place as filmmaker Rupert Sanders sorts out what to do.
"Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive," Johansson said the time. "I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusively in Hollywood continues."
Johansson is in Avengers: Endgame, which is wrapping up its second theatrical release in the coming days. The fourth Avengers film arrives digitally July 30th ahead of a home media release on August 13th.