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Scarlett Johansson Says Recent Casting Comments Were 'Taken Out of Context'

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By Daniel Goldblatt

Scarlett Johansson claims an interview she gave about the casting controversy she was involved in last were edited and taken out of context.

Excerpts from an interview Johansson gave with artist David Salle for AS IF magazine were published last week. The interview quoted her as saying that "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 the job."

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Johansson released a statement on Sunday, saying, "An interview that was recently published 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. 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."

She continued, "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."

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Last July, ScarJo took heat when she signed on to the movie "Rub & Tug," a film where she would have portrayed a transgender man.

ScarJo initially responded to the backlash with a sarcastic comment, saying at the time, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

She eventually relented and dropped out of the film, saying, "In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues."

She continued, "According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release. While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide."

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