Scarlett Johansson says comments she made about “political correctness” in Hollywood casting have been taken out of context, 12 months after she pulled out of a transgender role.
Earlier this week the actor claimed in an interview she “should be allowed to play any person, tree, or animal.”
“Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen. The question now is, what is acting anyway?” Johansson told As If magazine.
“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 pulled out of a role as a transgender man in the film Rub & Tug last year, as a result of a negative response from the trans community.
Critics also accused Johansson of “whitewashing” in 2016 for playing a Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell.
Johansson says casting comments ‘out of context’
But the actor responded to critics in a statement, saying the comments were “edited for click bait” and “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 recognise that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy among my industry that favours caucasian, cisgendered 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.”
Social media wants to cast Johansson as a tree
However, many took to social media with some thoughts on casting in Hollywood and frustration with Johansson’s quote about animals and trees.
“Yes, ScarJo, you should be able to play a tree. Because there aren’t countless sentient trees desiring to act yet struggling to get cast in roles,” screenwriter Stephanie Mickus tweeted.
“But there ARE a ton of LGBTQIA/non-binary actors who have vocalise that they would love to represent those characters.”
Writer Dean Van Nguyen also tweeted: “When trans people are ‘allowed to play any person,’ when prominent roles stop being whitewashed, then Scarlett Johansson can have a moan.”
Scarlett Johansson is a cisgender white woman with a powerful platform and no storage of work opportunities. Trans people should play trans people. Period. It is incredibly disappointing that she has learned nothing and clearly does not care about the experiences of trans people. https://t.co/yWMeCZbUMS
— Charlotte Clymer?????? (@cmclymer) July 13, 2019
this has to be scarlett johansson’s best performance of her career pic.twitter.com/qVo3UEES1J
— hikikomori povich (@SarahSahim) July 13, 2019
“Speed” remake with Scarlett Johansson as the bus
— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) July 14, 2019
OMG I can’t believe I just met Scarlett Johansson!! what an honor!!! pic.twitter.com/81Ryb2t9XF
— franzi (@niceonefransi) July 14, 2019
Just found out Scarlett Johansson played THANOS in infinity war. 😳😳😳 pic.twitter.com/SfoHFRtlHG
— james passmore (@robbyrectangles) July 15, 2019
BREAKING: Scarlett Johansson to play civil rights activist Malcom X in an upcoming biopic. pic.twitter.com/D981GvZYF0
— simone (@ororogue) July 13, 2019
— We’ll always have tumblr (@ohmygr0dd) July 14, 2019
scarlett johansson: pic.twitter.com/TdnFh2Dv4Z
— ???????? (@lydsirabella) July 14, 2019
y’all i’m shocked… i didn’t know scarlett johansson was in prisoner of azkaban pic.twitter.com/1qvpqSreVq
— emily (@pctterdiaries) July 14, 2019