We've heard this debate before, who should play gay and which actors should play transgender characters.
The twittersphere is exploding with the world finding out that cis female actor/actress Scarlett Johansson is in hot water once again for her acceptance of a non cis white female role in an upcoming film. The character, a massage parlor owner Dante “Tex” Gill in the upcoming mob drama Rub & Tug, is based on the real-life Gill whom was born as Lois Jean Gill, but identified as a man
The #OscarsSoWhite campaign has been a powerhouse for pointing out Hollywood's lack of consideration when hiring talent for certain roles. One of the powers in this powerhouse, April Reign, has taken to twitter to lob some good points in the argument against Johansson playing Gill.
“Scarlett Johansson received considerable backlash for Ghost in the Shell, when she played a whitewashed Asian character. The movie tanked. Undeterred, she has teamed up WITH THE SAME DIRECTOR to play a trans male character in Rub & Tug.”
As you can see, Reign’s tweet includes a statement from Johansson's camp in regard to the role selection. It was more of a redirection than a statement, but we got the picture.
“Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.”
Is this new for Johansson? This backlash for not playing a cis white female in a movie? She worked with director Rupert Sanders on Ghost in the Shell (the same director for Rub & Tug), where both director and actor received flack for having Johansson play a role that was Asian in the original form of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi. Many movies have been accused of white-washing a character.
Related Story: "14 Cisgender Actors in Transgender Roles"
So is this the second offense for Johansson and are we yelling at her a little louder, "YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!" This time, instead of white washing, she is being called out for what some people are labeling as “transface” and others as “ciswashing.”
One tweet was interesting stating that Johansson was a producer of the film and has the ability to hire a transgender actor.
And other tweets are bringing up her unstable support of the issues.
Instincters, what do you think of this issue?
To be honest, I have not followed this issue in the past. I need to look back to see if there was an uproar with the cis males playing Hedwig on Broadway, or were all the gay roles in the academy award winning Moonlight played by gay actors, or what about lesbian roles? Were they played by lesbian actors?
What we have seen rise to the surface when it comes to this debate over who pays whom are more so the G and the T of LGBT. I don't think we've seen much about the L and the B.
We all need to be visible, we all need to be included, we all need to fight for each other being fairly represented. Let's keep on Hollywood's toes and let them know we all need to be seen. End scene.
Here are some more tweets regarding the Scarlet Johansson / Rub & Tug issue.
Editors Note: Throughout this post, I've used the word actor which has been used as a gender neutral adjective for several years.