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Salty Queers
4 min

Scarlett Johansson wants to be cast in trans roles

“As an actor, I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal”

Two words: Scarlett Johansson.

Three words: What a mess.

Johansson, for the love of all living things, is once again fuelled by sheer heterocity and caucasity. In a recent conversation about acting trends with American artist David Salle for As If magazine, Johansson 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.”

Johansson continued: “There are a lot of social lines being drawn now and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art.” (Why didn’t her publicist stop this!!!)

The comments were related to Johansson’s problematic past playing people from historically marginalized and vulnerable groups. In 2017, she was cast as robot cop Major Motoko Kusanagi in the anime-inspired film Ghost in the Shell, much to the concern of Asian-Americans. Then in 2018, Johansson won the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, a real trans man, in the film Rub and Tug. After criticism from trans advocates, she eventually gave up the role, citing “recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting.”

Now, after her comments in As If blew up on social media Johansson is backpedalling, claiming the interview was edited “for clickbait” — but not before putting her foot in her mouth again. She told CNN: “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.” Something must be lost in translation . . . 

What Johansson, one of the top 10 highest-grossing actors of all time, doesn’t realize that aside from what she thought was the “biggest perk” of her job (going to a New York City restaurant without a reservation ), she actually occupies a powerful and privileged position that could change and challenge barriers in Hollywood, amplify the voices of people of colour and let LGBTQ2 actors to play themselves on films.

In a 2017 Saturday Night Live sketch, Johansson played US first daughter Ivanka Trump in a fake perfume ad for Complicit. And the sketch aged well (maybe not for Johansson) because as she struts and poses the narrator says: “Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this but won’t.” And if that’s not a piping hot tea — then we don’t know what is

A 2015 Variety poll that examined Hollywood’s role in LGBTQ2 rights found that 78 percent of the 2000 people surveyed in the US said seeing prominent queer figures affect their understanding, acceptance, and support of LGBTQ2 rights in the country. Translation: We want actual LGBTQ2 people to play queer and trans roles .