Scarlett Johansson: ‘I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal’

The Wimbledon Championships 2019

Scarlett Johansson covers the latest issue of As If Magazine, a magazine for the Cher Horowitzes in your life. No, I seriously have no idea what “As If Magazine” is all about, but damn it’s artsy. The photoshoot involved limited edition dresses made specifically for Scarlett and this shoot. Impressive. Unfortunately, the interview is… in a word, terrible. I have no idea how else to say it. In the piece, Scarlett references the controversy last year, where she was cast as a transgender man in the film Rub & Tug, and then after a flurry of criticism, Scarlett first defended her choice to take the role, then she pulled out of it in a huff. That whole situation dented Scarlett’s reputation. And these quotes don’t help. Some highlights from As If:

She would still be an actress even if it didn’t pay: “It’s definitely a wonderful job to have and being satisfied with my job puts my lifestyle second on my priority list. But, the actual reality is that acting is very lucrative, and most of the time I can go to a restaurant without a reservation. That is the biggest perk.”

Director Jonathan Glazer mistreated her while filming Under the Skin: “[My] character was wet all the time because I spent a big portion of the film outside and it was raining and snowing. In between takes the costume director would give me a warming jacket because I’m sure she saw I was turning blue.” Glazer instructed the the costume director to stop giving her the creature comfort. “I remember looking at Jonathan and shooting him daggers with my eyes while thinking, I’m going to kill you. I know how to pretend that I’m cold. I can pretend that I can’t feel my feet or toes. If I wanted to decide to be wet and cold in order to feel wet and cold I’ll make that choice myself, you know? But, sometimes directors imagine that they can do something like that.”

On the “political correctness” in casting decisions: “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. I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.”

[From The Daily Mail]

“I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job.” Someone cast ScarJo as a Japanese tree, quick. Yeah, I understand the argument of “well, it’s acting, it’s literally make-believe.” But she’s willfully naive and painfully ignorant if she thinks she has the RIGHT to play any and every character. Wouldn’t she balk if she was asked to play Martin Luther King Jr.? I would hope so. So why didn’t she balk when she was asked to play a transgender man, in an era where trans-visibility is one of the biggest issues in the cultural landscape? Why did she lie about how she wasn’t really cast as a Japanese character in Ghost in the Shell, only she was? And why do only cisgendered heterosexual white people think that they should always and forever be the default, the go-to choice when casting every role, no matter if the role is for a transgender man, a Japanese woman, and on and on?

Oh, and Scarlett tried to “clarify” but really she just doubled-down snottily. From EW:

While her comments are accurate, Johansson says in the statement given to EW by her rep that the interview as it’s been quoted “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,” she continues. “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 wide spread 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.”

[From EW]

Her publicist wrote that.

World premiere of 'Avengers: Endgame'

Cover courtesy of As If, additional photo courtesy of WENN.

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97 Responses to “Scarlett Johansson: ‘I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal’”

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  1. Char says:

    Kim Kardashian should hire Scarlet to play a kimono for the line ad.

    Both dumb af.

    • Snazzy says:

      I’d argue SJ is dumber. At least KK was smart enough to roll back

      I can’t believe I just wrote this

    • Alexis37 says:

      Yeah I came here to say, Scarlett is just not a smart person. Nothing much going on upstairs. She’s beautiful and sexy and that gives her the aura of arrogance she carries. But upstairs? empty.

      • Wellsie says:

        The cover photo really encapsulates all that that nicely.

      • SKF says:

        That’s not true. She is actually pretty intelligent. One only needs to watch one of the compilation videos of her dealing with sexist bullsh*t questions on Avengers promo tours to see that she is very quick and very funny and very bright.

        However, being those things doesn’t make her immune from occasionally being a jacka*ss or from saying ridiculous or privileged things. Smart people say stupid sh*t all the time.

    • Krakken says:

      Wow. So little self awareness. It’s truly staggering. Sure Scarlett “in an ideal world…. “
      but the world is less than ideal for the majority whose greatest perk is something other than being able to get a table at any restaurant without reservations.
      Even her statement and feelings about the director making her actually experience the cold, how dare he think he have the right to…
      She doesn’t need to BE COLD to act cold.
      Just like she doesn’t need to BE Japanese or a Trans man to play these roles. She is so incredibly arrogant and unlikeable.
      I would really like her to tell us more about all the projects in which she continues to fight for the inclusion of all.
      She is truly Nauseating and has just knocked Gwyneth Paltrow off her throne as Queen of Head-Up-Her-Own-Asslandia.

      • Pulplove says:

        All of this exactly! I’m still flabbergasted by what she considers to be the biggest perk about acting. I’m desperately trying to remember ever reading anything about her not just supporting but actually F I G H T I N G for everyone to be included in any of her projects. When, where, how?

      • crass says:

        @Krakken and @Pulplove – yes, yes, yes!!! to everything you both said. It is hard to be aware of anything else when you’re neck deep in your own ass.

  2. Flying fish says:

    Scarlett is now canceled in my book.

    • Xi Tang says:

      She’s been cancelled ever since she threw Oxfam under the bus. That was worse than any of her casting choices.
      Scarjo is one actor that I truly dislike from those who are supposedly “on the right side”. I actively avoid anything she’s in. And thank god she was yeeted off a cliff in the Avengers…literally cancelled for eternity.

    • Moneypenny says:

      This is Scarlett’s “all lives matter” moment.

  3. Loretta says:

    She’s so problematic (and I hate this word). I can’t stand her

  4. Lucy2 says:

    Her publicist definitely wrote the follow up. But it covered what I was going to say, if everyone has equal opportunities, then sure, people can play whatever. But until that happens, people like Scarlett should not take away roles from those who are extremely under-represented, and who have very few opportunities.

    • rosamund12 says:

      That’s right. If everyone had equal opportunities, it can always be interesting to flip the script and for instance, go with a black female actress to play Bond, or alien female (Swinton) to play that Asian guy in Dr. Strange. There’s a difference between mis-casting (Scarlet as MLK) and counter-intuitive casting to attempt some kind of interesting artistic alchemy. But I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be a transgendered person being barred from the most preliminary audition, finally seeing a good transgendered role finally cross their desk, only to watch it go to the same old stars who hoover up everything worth playing. I kind of feel the same way whenever Michelle Pfeiffer or Charlize Theron play dumpy, down-on-their-luck middle aged women.

      • ElleBee says:

        @Rosamund12

        Google Lashana Lynch. She’s a black british woman who has been chosen as the new 007 in Bond25 :D

      • lucy2 says:

        ElleBee, if that rumor is true I am soooooo excited!

      • Lena says:

        I felt the same way when jennifer Lawrence in her mid-twenties was playing parts that were originally written for women 15 years older than that. Because parts get scarcer for women at 40 and here she sashays in.

  5. BlueSky says:

    This is just peak white privilege.

  6. Ai says:

    she still doesn’t get it. That apology is total BS PR spin due to ppl. Calling her out. Anyways, I won’t be watching any of her leading roles movies in the future. Bye!

  7. Miles says:

    Let Black Widow flop and she’ll fade away into irrelevancy. That role is the only reason why she’s still relevant today. Her other films this decade have all been flops (except for Lucy). She clearly doesn’t care about anyone but herself despite the fact that she’s been the highest paid actress (again thank you Marvel) so letting her flop and fade away into irrelevancy is the way to go when it comes to her because even after people have explained to her this issue, she still doesn’t care.

    • Alexis37 says:

      I love the character (I’m a Marvel fangirl), and she is fine in the role, but it has always bothered me that she has the role. You’re right about Black Widow being the sole reason she is still relevant, but I don’t think it will flop. She is a real test, I will tell you that. Part of the greatness of the Marvel universe is that the cast doesn’t force you into cognitive dissonance, generally speaking. I mean, Chris Evans is out there punching nazis on twitter, for one example.

      Except for Scarlett. Scarlett is a problem. Scarlett has always been a problem. I wish so much that another actress had won this role. But she was the hot thang when OG Avengers was being cast. What a shame.

      • diana says:

        I’m a huge Black Widow fan from the comics. I can’t express how disappointed I was when she was cast, and that was before I knew what an a**hole she is.
        Imagine Charlize or Sofia Boutella or Blunt, the first choice for the role.
        Scarlett adds nothing to the role and doesn’t even fit the part. Her fighting sequences are supposed to be the best in the mcu. But she barely does her own running and we end up with too many cuts and shaky camera so we won’t notice her doubles are doing everything.

      • Miles says:

        Imagine Emily Blunt as Black Widow. *Sigh* what could have been.

  8. Millennial says:

    Why does she keep talking and giving quotes about this? At this point I’m surprised her publicist doesn’t make this topic off limits in interviews. Get new people, girl!

    But also, ugh, your opinion sucks.

  9. lisa says:

    If a character is a specific race this can be a touchy issue. If a character is written and it can really be any race then yes anyone should be able to play the part.

    • ByTheSea says:

      Wow, you missed the whole point of the thread didn’t you? It’s not just about race (although that is part of it); there are many marginalized people (like LGBTQI+) who should be portrayed by other people who are in the same group. No one needs Scarlet portraying them. There are plenty of white women roles she can have.

    • Carol says:

      I don’t know. I get what she is saying in that you should be able to play anything as an actor but acknowledged minority actors don’t get the same opportunity as white straight actors. She ‘saved’ herself in my book when she clarified her quotes and acknowledged the discrepancy of opportunity. Although I don’t hate her, she bugs me for other reasons.

  10. grabbyhands says:

    God, her initial comment was bad enough – her follow up was worse.

    “I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

    Please. A. To continue to support diversity, you have to start and B. If you were fighting for projects in which everyone was included, you wouldn’t have taken the role in Ghost in the Machine or Rub and Tug – you would have used your considerable wealth, clout and privilege to make sure that those roles went to actors from the communities you profess to support.

    God, she’s awful.

    • Mia4s says:

      That was the part that caught my eye.

      “I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

      Ummm….when have you ever done that Scarlett? Like…ever?

      • Miles says:

        Never. She’s never done that and when given the opportunity to provide opportunities she had her production company pull out of making the movie instead.

      • Christina says:

        And acting is only lucrative for successful working actors, and they are almost always White people because casting directors and producers choose people THEY are comfortable with. She is so completely oblivious to her privilege.

      • Lilah casting says:

        The casting of Ariel as black must have trigger her she probably saw herself in that situation Wich is not the same to us but it is for her, a certain group of white people are only good at projecting themselves on to others but when they have to concided the feelings of other on themselves they are at a lost.

    • Mtec says:

      Completely agree. Also remember how she pulled out her funding for the transgender movie because of the backlash of her trying to play a transgender character? She was co-producing it and basically made sure the movie wouldn’t get made unless she was cast in that role. If she really supported diversity she should have worked to find a better suited actor for the role.

    • diana says:

      This exactly…she was in marvel for almost a decade and did nothing to promote diversity. Despite having some power. She enjoyed being the only girl, one of the guys.
      Compare her time in the mcu to Brie Larson and Ryan Coogler who in short amount of time did more to make the mcu more inclusive. Even Kevin Feige said that when it came to Ryan and Brie, he felt that they were interviewing him and not the other way around. They wanted to make sure that marvel are gonna address representation issue in front and behind the screen.

      • Lilah casting says:

        Yeah brie is smarter she is about 5 years younger than Scarlett I didn’t know how some one can be so ignorant at 35, she lives in her privilege bubble troll and dudes love her because she is as ignorant as they are but she showed butt and boobs that equals good acting to them, I love the fact brie wasn’t sexualized despite the angry cries from some grown male babies

      • Algernon says:

        This bothers me so much, because she clearly *loved* being the only girl and “one of the guys.” I wish I could find it now but someone asked her on the Endgame junket about having “so many” women in the MCU now and you can just tell her smile was forced and she was like “it’s so great” and it sounded so false. I don’t usually go in for assuming things from press appearances because they are actors who can be “on” whenever, and they’re like dancing monkeys at junkets, but this one interview really struck me because she was so clearly insincere. I also find it interesting that RDJ chose to have his lady lunch at a time when when she was not around.

      • STEPHANIE says:

        Until captain America civil war marvel was one unit headed by Ike pearlmutter. Kevin feige demanded a split from main marvel and Disney ceo granted that request. Pearlmutter is a major conservative republican who blocked all attempts at inclusive story telling thinking that stories with women and blacks would fail. How could scarjo change that mans mind. Until marvel studios became its own thing that wasn’t going to be happening

  11. minx says:

    She’s such a mediocre actress, and then when she opens her mouth, hoo boy. Just insufferable.

  12. Lightpurple says:

    If color blind casting is in full effect and Ming Na is playing LBJ and Angela Bassett has the Barry Goldwater role, then, sure she can play MLK but until that day comes, no, Scarlett, just no. But feel free to play a tree any time.

    • Algernon says:

      Suddenly craving to see Ming Na do the phone call where LBJ complains about getting his pants tailored because his D is so big.

    • Tiffany says:

      Angela Bassett as Barry Goldwater.

      I see no problem with that ;) .

      Take my money.

  13. Patty says:

    She’s not even that good of an actress or that cute for that matter.

  14. Franny says:

    Except people aren’t trees or animals. They aren’t purple or polka dot either, btw.

  15. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Honestly every time she opens her mouth she reminds everyone what a white feminist she is. This is the same woman who spoke at a MeToo rally while still being friends with Woody Allen (and going out to lunch with him) and not seeing any kind of hypocrisy in that.
    Scarlett is someone who ultimately is all about Scarlett in all things. She postures when she has to but outside of that she doesn’t give a s*it about anything about her own interests.
    It’s clear Marvel and her PR stepped in and made her attempt to clean her mess up. The Black Widow is in production and she is messing with their money. Frankly now I’m glad her character was killed off in Endgame. I liked Black Widow but I’m done with this bitch.

  16. Eliza says:

    Well her acting is as wooden as a tree so she’s got one thing right. The rest… oh just keep digging that hole. Check your privilege.

  17. C-Shell says:

    Trees are sentient beings, and by the vacant, dead-eyed expression on her face in that lead/cover photo, I’d say playing a tree would be a stretch role for her. She’s a box of (good) hair.

  18. Jane says:

    Scarlett is the worst! She supports Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, then takes away roles of transgender and Japanese people, and accuses a company of anti-Semitism bc they dared to critique her. She is one of those woman who do this over and over again but people keep letting her get away with it, even on this site. The energy people have for a white woman is not the same energy they carry for a POC

  19. SJR says:

    If she had actual acting talent …. then maybe.

  20. Myriam says:

    I really dislike her

  21. TIFFANY says:

    She is not as smart as she thinks she is.

  22. Summer says:

    “It’s my right to be able to play anyone”, she whines. Let Hollywood cast her as Nelson Mandela and see how well that goes down. Her sense of entitlement is too much.

  23. MrsBump says:

    Her comment doesn’t surprise me , i’m sure there will be thousands of white people reading her statement and nodding along.
    However i’m sure these same white people will shout blasphemy if the litte mermaid / 007 is played by a WOC.
    in this climate, Scarlett should know better than to open her mouth and remove all doubt as to how idiotic she is.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Just go on Twitter. Thousands of white people defending her saying that Scarlett can play whatever she wants as well. That it’s just “acting”. But of course these are the SAME people who were crying in their Cheerios last week about Halle Bailey being cast as Ariel. Their own hypocrisy is lost on them.

      • Xi Tang says:

        Not just white people but also alt right youtubers and the most toxic part of the “geek” fandoms. They are all white knighting her. Repulsive.

    • Bumble says:

      I know you have an excellent point, but please do keep in mind not all white people are like this (says the white lady). I don’t know anyone who would say that, or any alt-righters, and I am thrilled that gorgeous girl was cast as Ariel. I know the people you talk about are out there, but I really think they are the minority. But then again, I live in cities…

      • Xi Tang says:

        I’m referring to a specific group of white people, not all. And you’d be surprised to learn how many despicable comics fans there are, not just white comic fans.

      • Bumble says:

        I’m sure you are right. What a gross intersection of people. Blech.

  24. Marty says:

    I wish she would play a tree, then she could stand there and shut the hell up.

  25. JanetFerber says:

    No. I disagree with her. In The Good Earth, two white actors played the Chinese protagonists. Anna May Wong, a superb Chinese-American actress, tried so hard to get the part, but was refused. It broke her heart. Anna May played some small roles, including a secondary character to Marlene Dietrich in a von Sternberg film. She also starred in Picadilly, a film hard to get, made in England, in the hopes it would be her breakout role. Unfortunately, it was not. I firmly believe Anna May should have gotten The Good Earth role (which European Luise Rainer won an Oscar for) and I strongly believe Scarlett should NEVER play an Asian or a person of color, etc. Stay in your lane, Scarlett!

  26. Bumble says:

    No animal would stand about mouth-breathing like that. That’s how you get flies.

  27. Trillian says:

    In a world without discrimination, she would be right. But only there.

  28. Dorothy says:

    Cool cool. Looking forward to Rihanna playing her in a movie about Scarlett’s life.

  29. Chimney says:

    So I have always believed that she is one of those actresses that got by being very hot while being super untalented for the longest time. I guess now that she’s getting older she has to go for another angle to remain relevant. Being racist and controversial will be how she brings home that bacon from now on. Can’t wait to see her upcoming projects playing Ghandi, Abe Lincoln, and Malcolm X

  30. Emmlo says:

    She and Jost are a perfect match of entitled shitty privilege.

  31. CK says:

    She can take any role she wants and we can criticize and boycott any film of hers for it. Why is she acting like political correctness is some sort of sentient force that makes it physically impossible for her to film this role? It’s not. The audience for this film, however, doesn’t want to see her deprive a talented trans actor of a role just so she can get nominated for a golden globe. She can still film it though.

    What she wants is what most people that cry about political correctness want. Freedom from criticism and economic consequence. Those two things have been a part of “Art” since it’s inception. I mean does she think that Shakespeare was writing his plays without regard to societal morals and the favor of his patrons? Film casting has always been a subject of criticism.

  32. perplexed says:

    A tree and animal sound like very weird examples to give. Huh.

  33. Aimee says:

    She probably wanted that role because she hoped it would win her an Oscar and she’s still pissed about it.

  34. Ann says:

    I have never been a fan. I know I’ve seen movies with her in them but I don’t remember them or her performances at all. Add in the friendship with Woody Allen that she refuses to quit all while making big speeches during various Women’s Rights events… spare me.

  35. ElleKaye says:

    The tired argument, ‘ I should be able to say what I want or do what I want.’ What people fail to realize is there are consequences.

    She inserts herself into these controversies knowing the outcome; she is not a victim, she is a perpetrator. She reveals herself to be insufferable, privileged, and indifferent to the plight of others. She shouldn’t be shocked when she is regarded as such.

  36. N says:

    She sucks. Maybe she and Jeremy Renner were work husband and wife on their downtime? She has only ever gotten attention from her looks and that is clearly fading with time and progress. In every interview I have read since she was in The Horse Whisperer, she is the rich white people that Lena Dunham and her pals proclaim themselves to be. They live in a bubbly mythical world of their own and this magazine obviously panders to the ‘true’ artists! How can no one see that they are going through SO much?! Hell, watching The Other Boleyn Girl recently made me feel bad she, Natalie Portman, and Eric Bana were the leads when a shit ton of awesome British actors were cast. Those actors weren’t famous then so apparently wouldn’t bring in the dough. She is simply upset she can’t use her ‘wiles’ to woo an audience now.
    Seeing that her publicist definitely wrote her apology, she and her rich white friends will never understand any kind of struggle because she can’t empathize in any way. Only selfishness and she clearly doesn’t believe in political correctness unless she is involved.

  37. Green Desert says:

    God, she’s an a**hole

  38. Liquorice says:

    She’s always been very vapid but I didn’t realise she was so clueless as well. Pseudo arty, gritty, and try-hard urbane, similar to Justin Theroux, who at least has acting range!

  39. Kyra says:

    No heart, just glamour. I guess expecting a narcissist to display an empathetic worldview is a bad expectation but then why give
    awful people jobs? There are many far more talented actors out there, and I’m sure some of them are blond and sexy and famous.

  40. Jana says:

    She might be able to pull off playing a tree, but she doesn’t have enough personality to play a person or animal.

  41. Lillian says:

    Ideally, when one speaks of Art not being “politically correct” it’s because the art is in the service of dismantling bigoted socio-political systems and standard privileges….or, at the very least, most artists try to pretend this is true in public….

  42. Bee says:

    GOOP: I am the most annoying woman in Hollywood!
    SCARLETT: hold my organic celery juice