She’s popular, well regarded and acclaimed as an actress, but Scarlett Johansson has found herself the subject of jokes and memes in recent times tied to her casting in two projects – the “Ghost in the Shell” remake, and the cancelled “Rub & Tug”.
In both cases, Johansson was cast in the lead role in the films which dealt with subject matters of identity, inclusivity and representation – but cast her, a white cisgender woman, in roles for a fictional Japanese character and a true life transgender man respectively.
Much of it could have blown over easily, but Johansson’s subsequent interview comments combined with the timing alongside the rise of a societal wide pushes for diversity and better representation in screen depictions, led to her becoming a punchline for comments and jokes about inappropriate casting.
Johansson initially defended her role, and later clarified those statements, but fans were still left with concerns over them. This week, speaking to Vanity Fair, Johansson attempted to clarify her statements yet again – this time offering an apology and taking responsibility:
“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing – and how they felt in general about cis actors playing – transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation – I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”
Johansson also made headlines recently for her response to the #MeToo controversy around her old collaborator/friend Woody Allen. Allen has been effectively blacklisted after sexual assault allegations against a minor resurfaced. Johansson defended Allen at the time and in the new interview continues to do so:
I do understand how that is triggering for some people.“But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women. I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. You can’t have this blanket statement – I don’t believe that. But that’s my personal belief. That’s how I feel.”
“Marriage Story is in cinemas now.