From her role in “Ghost in the Shell,” to the reporting last year that seemed to sink the star vehicle biopic “Rub & Tug” whilst in development, Scarlett Johansson found herself the center of two casting controversy storms a while back and became an online meme in which she became the go-to casting choice for any role other than a white straight cisgendered man or woman.
Like most memes though, that one died off fairly quickly and she had seemingly put all the bad press behind her. However, it looked like she would come under fire again this week when a quote from an interview about political correct casting leaked out and didn’t go over well on social media. The Daily Mail published parts of an interview she did for a cover story in As If magazine and included the quote about the topic:
“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. I feel like it is 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.”
In less than a day, Johansson issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly clarifying her remarks which she claims were ‘edited for clickbait’ and ‘widely taken out of context’:
“An interview that was recently published has been edited for clickbait 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.
That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way. I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors 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.”
Hollywood is well known for being dismissive of people of color, the LGBTQ community and other minorities in terms of casting hires and part of the reason for the previous backlash was that Johansson didn’t handle the previously controversies all that well with initially defensive responses that weren’t well received. This response, in contrast, seems more thought out and came about much quicker.
In addition, As If magazine has come forward and published the full Q&A conversation (click here to read) for further clarity of the quote’s context.