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Scarlett Johansson says she "should be allowed to play any person, tree, or animal"

Photo: Film Frame (Marvel)

Another day, another instance of Scarlett Johansson hurling herself off a public relations cliff: The former Ghost In The Shell actress gave a new interview to As If magazine this week, touching on a wide variety of issues germane to her career. Topics ranged from the good (Directors shouldn’t force performers to be physically miserable instead of just, you know, acting!), to the obvious (Lost In Translation is about a relationship, not a place!), to the “Oh god, here we go again (Scarlett Johansson should be allowed to play any part she wants, and nobody should be allowed to yell at her for it!).

This is per a write-up of the interview in The Daily Mail, which notes that not long after the controversy surrounding her casting as a traditionally Asian character in GitS, Johansson was also forced to depart another movie, Rub & Tug, after being cast as trans person (and fascinating, noted gangster) Dante “Tex” Gill. The actress dubbed resistance to the act of her, a cis woman, playing a trans character in a film “political correctness,” and then issued the following comment:

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’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.

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And while we don’t feel qualified to comment on Johansson’s aptitude for playing, say, a larch or a marmot, the idea that she might compare those kinds of non-human roles to taking parts that could be more accurately cast with members of the minorities they’re meant to represent does seem kind of—and we’re using a technical sociological term here—fucked up. In any case, it’s hard to imagine that doubling down yet again on this “Just let me do whatever I want, please” stance is going to impact Johansson’s career any more than it already has; she’s still expected to star shortly in that Black Widow movie Marvel still won’t admit it’s getting ready to make.

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