Scarlett Johansson says remark on how she should be 'allowed to play any person' were 'taken out of context'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Scarlett Johansson (Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Scarlett Johansson has walked back comments she made about how she should be 'allowed to play anyone' as an actress without concern over political correctness.

In a statement, she's sad that her remarks had been 'widely taken out of context' and then 'edited for click bait'.

The 34-year-old hit headlines last year when she was cast in the movie Rub & Tug, and was set to play Tex Gill, a transgender man who became a crime kingpin via an empire of massage parlours in the 1970s.

Read more: Black Widow set pic hints at Johansson replacement

When she was criticised for taking the part – one that some thought had been usurped from potentially being played by a transgender actor – she stepped down from the role.

But in a statement, she said: “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.

Johansson in Ghost In The Shell (Credit: Paramount)

“That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way. I recognise that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours 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 comments came from an interview with Salle in As If magazine.

She said: “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?

“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.

Actress Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon arrival at the 'Avengers Endgame' fan event in London, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art.

“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.”

The future of Rub & Tug, which was to be directed by Rupert Sanders, the British director who made Ghost In The Shell with Johansson, has been in limbo ever since Johansson’s departure.

However, the actress also came under scrutiny for the Ghost In The Shell role too.

She was accused of whitewashing a role originally based in the Japanese manga genre.