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Scarlett Johansson's plans to play trans man spurs backlash

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By JAKE COYLE

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57 Comments
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And here I thought I was going to read about basement-dwelling misogynists saddened that their own "rub & tug" fantasies about Scarlett would be ruined by this role.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Next the union of criminals demands all villains to be played by true villains..

14 ( +17 / -3 )

So I guess trans people shouldn't be allowed to play normal people.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Just have an actual transgender person play a transgender in a movie. Same for Japanese playing Japanese instead of another ethnicity, especially Caucasians.

If you do, you might actually create new stars and we'll see new talent rather than the same ol' same ol' of Hollywood celebs.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

There's a not so rich tradition of Hollywood doing the whitewashing thing, hardly surprising this insensitivity and lack of imagination extends to LGBT roles.

Nothing against Johansson, of course. She's a great actor in her own right. Just be nice to see the role go to a trans person, that's all.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

So I guess trans people shouldn't be allowed to play normal people.

Why not? Trans people are the perfect actors.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Nothing against Johansson, of course. She's a great actor in her own right. Just be nice to see the role go to a trans person, that's all.

She’s a great “actress” yes, no doubt about it, but I just hate how Hollywood always has o heavily politicize an issue. No wonder ticket sales are slumping.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And yet again left wingers prove they are intolerant bigots. This is an actress, her job is to act, there should not be bigoted intolerant requirements about biology or personal beliefs when hiring an actress or actor. Or is it double standard? Should the producers of Hamilton be sued for hiring African American actors to perform rules of real Caucasian males from history? Should anyone producing Peter pan with a female as Peter, which is normal, be sued? LefT Wingers it's called treatibg all humans as individuals, try looking past biology and see people rather than gender, race, group or beliefs and be less hung up on your inability to treat everyone as equals

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I'd love to see her play a black guy in her next movie.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Acting is acting.

We have non-Christians acting as Christians. We have people acting as blind people or down syndrome people yet they are neither. We have lots of cases like this.

I think the important thing to remember is, certain actors get preference because they are simply available at the time for the role, or they push their management to get it. If a true trans actor/actress wishes for the role then they need to compete for it fairly. You can't raise the "true trans card" and expect to get the role.

While one could argue "you wouldn't use a white person as a black person in a movie" the same could be said for this role... with that said though, acting is acting. The main character Dante "Tex" Gill was a white person, and was born a woman... I can see Scarlett fits the role perfectly.

Sorry if I've offended any people with my comment and view, but this is honestly my unbiased view on this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I find myself drifting more and more away from the "progressive" ideal on this issue. I believe, of course, that trans people deserve respect and dignity. But, that doesn't mean that activists get their way a hundred percent or that they don't have to enter a dialogue about, or ignore the difficulties of, these issues. By the way, there IS diversity in the trans community and not every trans person demands that other folk see them exactly as how some of them want to be seen. It is a question why a trans woman should be accepted as a woman in all circumstances, a big question. Should a trans woman be allowed to lead a women's organization, participate in women's sports and competitions, be treated as a woman by medical staff, etc.? People who question this are not necessarily bigots and not all trans people think the same way. Furthermore, it's an insult to actors to be told they cannot act. It's irrational and anti-creativity, anti-freedom. If trans people want to play the role of non-trans in movies or TV I have no objection. However, let's not pretend that the public will always see them as they believe in their heads that they should be seen. If they can succeed in a role, that's great though. I don't think trans woman are strictly women. Not all trans people believe that either, though "liberals" have made it a sort of dogma. I do believe in kindness but there has to be some give and take too. Being decent and compassionate does not man ignoring differences or pretending diversity of identities do not exist. There are trans people who accept this too, who are aware that they are "different" and who don't expect everyone to buy the dogma of a liberal fantasy. I say this as someone on the left.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And yet again left wingers prove they are intolerant bigots.

Do we? Because I'm a left-winger, and I think this whole controversy is silly. So how exactly does this prove I'm intolerant?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

IhaveaclueToday  09:56 am JST

If a true trans actor/actress wishes for the role then they need to compete for it fairly. 

Do you honestly believe for a moment that trans actors and actresses get the same opportunities for work as cis actors and actresses? You can't call on people to compete fairly when the deck is stacked against them from the start.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hard to believe she was once considered the world's most beauty, especially with those pursed liver lips!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@katsu78 Granting that they are an extreme minority and that only a percentage of that minority can flawlessly pass as the gender with which they identify, yes, there is still prejudice and bias. However, competing fairly means that artists who make movies should be free to cast in a way that fits their vision and that the big companies will want to appeal to their audiences. Caitlyn Jenner still appears masculine, despite the make-up, cosmetics and enhancements. If there are transgender that really look and act the part, they should get consideration based on their individual talent and suitability. I agree though that the should get fair consideration and show up in productions as much as, say, ambidextrous people, or other extreme minorities normally would. I think performing arts are, by nature, biased in terms of aesthetics. You could have a 400 lb man playing James Bond, but it's unlikely, for example. In other fields, equality of opportunity should be much more an expectation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well I thought Kinki Boots was a great movie.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There was no outrage when R Downey Jr played an Australian man playing a black man in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why not, she has already played an Asian woman in "Ghost in the Shell". Did they not learn from the bad reviews of that movie. It would make more sense to hire a well known transgender actor.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There was no outrage when R Downey Jr played an Australian man playing a black man in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

Because it was satire. It was sending up the blackface trope and Hollywood/method acting at the same time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

she has already played an Asian woman in "Ghost in the Shell".

No, she played her own face/race in Ghost in the Shell. She was not Asian in it.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

There was no outrage when R Downey Jr played an Australian man playing a black man in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

Maybe because the characters in the movie acknowledged the inappropriateness of Robert Downey's character, and the character also realized the error of his ways.

If she stars as an actor playing a transgender role that realizes that the role should be played by an actual transgender then most people won't have an issue.

Context is always importantly!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Strangerland

Her character's name was Motoko Kusanagi. Set in a futuristic version of Japan. How many non-Japanese women do you know that have a Japanese first and last name?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Strangerland

When she was changed to a cyborg, they changed her name to Mira Killiam, so she was playing an Asian woman. Have you actually watched the movie?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Seems like simple gonad-envy. Or just the same old misogynist confusion between performer (real) and role (not real).

If an issue, director's fault. Ms. Johannson would not be expected to run around commenting that it is BS - she does have to market the films and her own 'brands'.

Looks like a challenging role anyway, to 'play' - at least she does not seem to confuse reality with fiction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When she was changed to a cyborg, they changed her name to Mira Killiam, so she was playing an Asian woman. Have you actually watched the movie?

Have you? Remember that whole scene at the beginning of the movie where they rebuilt her body - as a white woman?

She was playing a character who had previously been Asian in her original body, but the character she was actually playing was not Asian.

Or are you of the opinion that race is not a physical thing?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

’Rub & Tug’ !? I wonder if it has a happy ending

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

She was playing a character who had previously been Asian in her original body, but the character she was actually playing was not Asian.

How convenient. Saves Hollywood from having to hire an Asian actor.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Same for Japanese playing Japanese instead of another ethnicity, especially Caucasians. its not about Japanese playing Japanese , its about Japanese needing to speak fluent English to play the role, which is almost always in English. when it comes to Asian actors who speak English fluently there are far more Chinese and Koreans that can act the part. Which is why they dominate Asian roles in Hollywood

4 ( +5 / -1 )

She was playing a character who had previously been Asian in her original body, but the character she was actually playing was not Asian.

Or are you of the opinion that race is not a physical thing?

If an Asian woman has plastic surgery to look Caucasian, she is still Asian. She isn't wearing fake eyelids, but she pretending to be Asian on some level.

Further enflaming the backlash was a report claiming the producers ran tests that were later scrapped to make the actors appear Asian; the studio stated Johansson wasn’t involved in those tests.

http://ew.com/movies/2017/02/09/scarlett-johansson-ghost-in-the-shell-whitewashing-controversy/

Once she met her mom in the movie and realized who she was and what her real name is then she was playing an Asian woman again.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Linda Park on her role as a Japanese person on Star Trek:

Park: I answered this question when the show first aired and I actually am offended, to be honest, by that question because it’s (a) different (situation). It’s not the same as saying Uhura being played by a Caucasian. It would be same to have an Irish character being played by a British person. And, if I could, Lord, I would put myself in a Henry James adaptation film. But I can’t because I can’t be bought as that in a film. No one is going to believe that I’m English or German or French unless I’m mixed, possibly. But I can do that with Japanese or Chinese or go so far as Filipino or Thai. I’ll take whatever I can get because I’m an actor. I hope that people would be broad enough to look at casting where it says “Open to all ethnicities.” My character in Raines, the original casting was for a blond surfer guy. They said, “Well, we’re having a hard time figuring this out. Let’s just open it up.” They do that for characters. My character on Raines, they ended up changing the name to Michelle. It was Michelle Lance. It wasn’t Michelle Kim. And God bless (Raines creator and executive producer) Graham Yost. He’s an incredible person and so talented, and able to see that far outside the box.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There was no outrage when R Downey Jr played an Australian man playing a black man in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

Because it was satire. It was sending up the blackface trope and Hollywood/method acting at the same time.

Yes I am aware that RDJ’s character in Tropic Thunder was meant as a satire of blackface and extreme method acting.

The point I was trying to make is that actors act. Scarlett Johansson is a woman playing a trans woman. Was there outrage when Tom Hanks played a gay character?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The wailing and gnashing of teeth about why they're not using a trans in the lead role seems to forget one simple point.The idea is to make money too.Movies are a business and ScarJo has a name.No-one is going to watch a no name play the lead.Wait and watch the movie.If she sucks,hate on her if you need to.If not,praise her and keep it moving.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To please the leftys we need new hollywood rules: only gays can act gays, only heteros can act heteros, only trans can act trans, only 30 year olds can act 30 year olds, etc etc.

the leftys shouldbe happy then.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

no limit to the pc stupidity of the left.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

God, what a non-issue. Doesn't even rise to the level of a first-world problem, more like a 1%er issue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

expatToday  02:28 pm JST

God, what a non-issue. 

It's certainly not a non-issue to the people who care about it. If you personally don't care about it, there's no need to comment on the story. But loads of people who don't think this issue matters feel a need to express outrage ("outrage I tell you!") that we are even discussing it. Whereas despite numerous attempts to frame this as an issue for "lefties", no one so far in this peanut gallery is actually expressing outrage that ScarJo is being given this role.

That's the real political correctness at play. A group of posters here say the issue doesn't matter, because it doesn't matter to them. And they want discussion of the issue silenced, because they get offended hearing about problems people face that don't affect them. Like a certain poster here who insisted the weather in Japan must be fine because he personally could have his barbecue, if it doesn't affect them personally, they want us all to believe it doesn't affect anyone.

Or to put it another way: They want you to believe that things that concern the trans community don't matter because they want you to believe that the trans community itself doesn't matter.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@katsu

That's the real political correctness at play. A group of posters here say the issue doesn't matter, because it doesn't matter to them. And they want discussion of the issue silenced, because they get offended hearing about problems people face that don't affect them. Like a certain poster here who insisted the weather in Japan must be fine because he personally could have his barbecue, if it doesn't affect them personally, they want us all to believe it doesn't affect anyone. 

Or to put it another way: They want you to believe that things that concern the trans community don't matter because they want you to believe that the trans community itself doesn't matter.

You just clearly and accurately described the underlining principle for most of the conservative viewpoints in the US.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

A big name actress has fans and will draw viewers. This commercial aspect of movies cannot be ignored.

However, I'm only posting this to say that I had never heard and had to look up the word "cisgender". Shouldn't that word be explained in a news article or are we all supposed to automatically know what it means?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I see what's going on here. More gender confusion/attraction promotion, brought to you by the Chinese government who bought out large chunks of Hollywood over the last couple years.

i.e.

I'm a straight male who isn't interested in ultra minority trans/gay/queer movements, but Scarlett Johansen is the hottest woman on the planet, so it's now ok to be attracted the supposed embodiment of cross dressing gay man/ trans (sorry if I can't get the term right, I'm honestly trying!).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I bet Scarlett makes a great trans man.

Pukey - Har!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Hey Silvafan,

I think that most conservatives like to focus on issues of more dire urgency, ya know like, the opioid crisis, 10+ illegal immigrants and what is a reasonable thing to do, California collapsing, human trafficking, homeless rates, abortion rates, single parenthood especially in the black communities, natural disasters, etc. It's what adults in the room take care of.

Maybe when we tick off some of those issues, perhaps the spot light can be given to those about which bathroom they are confused about and their uncomfortable feelings. Simply madness that this takes the prime spot light by elite movie stars and totally exposes their agenda and how disconnected to what is actually going on in the country. NOT ONE movie about fentanyl! Probably because it is imported from China!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Did anyone see that 10 year old transgender boy in the NYT a few days ago?

I think Jordan Peterson stated it best,

"In what moral universe is it acceptable to encourage a 10 yr old boy to dress like an adult male mimicking a sexualized adult female, use that as a ticket to fame and then claim it as virtue?"

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

stocktraderToday  08:46 pm JST

Hey Silvafan,

I think that most conservatives like to focus on issues of more dire urgency,

If that's true, why are so many conservatives spending their energy in here trying to subvert the discussion? They aren't focused on solving any of the "issues" on your dubious list, they're trying to stop a conversation that isn't focused on them.

Go back and read the first several posts in this thread. There would be no discussion here at all were it not for conservatives spending so much energy trying to attack the fact that someone, somewhere in the world, cares about this issue. It bothers the conservatives here that anyone in the world cares how the trans community feels about how it is represented.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

katsu78

I see what you are saying, and it truly is nice of you to consider and think so fondly of a very tiny percentage of people. I wouldn't go as far to say you are virtuous but definitely thoughtful.

I think the main concern with most conservatives is not that they are hostile towards this population segment, rather that it occupies too much space and is grossly over represented to the point where it is clear that multi-million/billion dollar people are shoving it down our throats everywhere we look. Especially when there is a whole plethora of other issues that are much more serious and need addressing immediately.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

stocktraderToday  09:07 pm JST

katsu78

I think the main concern with most conservatives is not that they are hostile towards this population segment, rather that it occupies too much space and is grossly over represented to the point where it is clear that multi-million/billion dollar people are shoving it down our throats everywhere we look. 

Conservative posters are outraged ("outraged, I tell you!") to merely have a single news story reporting on some people criticizing a movie not casting a transgender person in a transgender role, and to you that means transgender issues are over-represented?

Let me guess, just the right amount of representation is that you never have to see, encounter, or think about trans people ever again. You want them to just disappear, is that it?

...

It sure sounds like hostility.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is closely related to the school of thought that says writers should only write about "what they know" with "what they know" defined as and limited to "only like them." So with one ideological principle you stifle imagination, empathy, creativity. Bye-bye Shakespeare, bye-bye most of the worthwhile creative artists of the past 500 years.

For obvious reasons stated by many posters above, it is not necessary to have a character played by an actor who is the same kind of person as that character. It's better that you have an Asian actress play an Asian character, or an African-American play an African-American character, because the audience has to look at that character onscreen and be convinced by it. Unless Scarlett is going to go full-frontal on screen, which I doubt, it's not necessary to have the character played by a trans person. Just as there is no reason, short of full-frontal nudity, why a trans actor couldn't play a non-trans character (I refuse to use the word cisgender).

Scarlett is also a producer on this movie. The movie needs to make money. It has a better chance of doing so with a big, bankable star playing the lead. And who knows - if it succeeds, Hollywood might make even more movies about trans characters. Trans actors might get to star in some of those. Then everyone will be happy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

katsu47

Oh dear, I think we may be on the wrong page.

I could hardly care less about who represents the transgender person, compared to the fact that the movie IS about a transgender person.

I think you may be confusing conservative people with the liberal type. You see, recent liberal type are based on an ideology. An ideology is a guideline, very predictable (You can thank universities for the phenomenon.). Throw an odd stone in wheel and you have in-fighting, which is where I believe you're coming from on this point.

I honestly couldn't care who plays the role, beside the fact that this is obviously an issue of confusion. Woman plays a man who thinks he is a woman. Clear cut case of double think. Your brain must work over time in order for that to make sense. Mind trickery, via elite billionaires/government/elites. This is what is called social conditioning, or brainwashing. Making the extreme fetishes become the normal, or normalizing the strange, thus you get the word conservative. Traditional, stable, what has worked before may work again.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

A woman will play the role of a gender confused woman. A woman playing a woman.

And this controversial because...?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think she could pull it off. She looks just like my brother.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it occupies too much space and is grossly over represented to the point where it is clear that multi-million/billion dollar people are shoving it down our throats everywhere we look.

There was very little representation of LGBT people when I was growing up. It's a little bit better these days but to claim it's being shoved down your throats everywhere you look is disingenous, at the very least.

One could say it's the opposite that so many of us have had heterosexuality and anti-gay propaganda forced upon us for decades, generations.

And personally, I don't know any billionaire LGBT people in my circles. I don't doubt there are but we hung out in working class, middle class groups and venues. Black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim etc.

Onscreen, it's nice to see a move away from stereotypical and negative portrayals. I don't understand why some people are so against this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

stocktraderJuly 8  10:38 pm JST

I honestly couldn't care who plays the role

You obviously care enough about this issue to post 560 words across 5 messages. You've written the equivalent of multiple Japanese entrance exam essays - hard to couple that degree of effort to silence and distract from discussion of the topic with the idea that you "don't care". You obviously care a great deal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A big name actress has fans and will draw viewers. This commercial aspect of movies cannot be ignored.

It's very likely a commercial decision. But how is a "cisgender" or any other minority actor/actress supposed to make a name for themselves if they can't get work? (I had to look up that word too.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks. I'll add this to the list of stuff I'm supposed to be offended about today.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interesting discussion. I suppose the unanswerable question is: Is it better to have the film made with a mega-star, and be seen by a wide audience, thereby helping to raise awareness of trans issues; or is it better to have a more authentic feeling film that will be seen by far fewer people.

It's hard not to sympathize with the comment "Not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived." But at the same time I think it's fair to say that movies like Philadelphia, My Left Foot, Born on the Fourth of July, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Rain Man etc put a much higher profile on the issues they depicted than they would have managed without star power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But at the same time I think it's fair to say that movies like Philadelphia, My Left Foot, Born on the Fourth of July, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Rain Man etc put a much higher profile on the issues they depicted than they would have managed without star power.

For sure, and the help and bringing to attention of the challenges some people face is appreciated. Seems Hollywood can put a positive message out there.

Now it's time for some positive representation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Actors who are trans never even get to audition for anything other than roles of trans characters," Clayton said in an all-caps tweet. "That's the real issue. We can't even get in the room."

Seems the issue is trans actors/actresses aren't even given a chance to play normal roles, and now even trans roles are also given to non-trans actors/actresses

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cisgender?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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