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After Scarlett Johansson backlash, we discuss cis actors playing trans roles

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30:  Scarlett Johansson attends the American Museum Of Natural History's 2017 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 30, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson attends the American Museum Of Natural History's 2017 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 30, 2017 in New York City.

Scarlett Johansson and director Rupert Sanders faced backlash this week after it was reported that she will be playing a transgender man in the upcoming film “Rub & Tug,” which is based on the real story of a massage parlor owner who was trans.

Scarlett Johansson and director Rupert Sanders faced backlash this week after it was reported that she will be playing a transgender man in the upcoming film “Rub & Tug,” which is based on the real story of a massage parlor owner who was trans.

Critics of the casting choice said that a cis actor can’t truly portray or understand the transgender experience, that it reduces the transgender experience to playing dress up and that this is an example of a cis actor taking an opportunity for representation away from a trans actor.

Defenders of the choice have said that it is the job of actors to embody experiences that they haven’t lived  – so isn’t Johansson just doing her job?

Johansson responded to the criticisms to a Bustle representative by saying, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

If you are a person who is trans, working in Hollywood, what do you think of the casting choice? Can and should a cis actor play a trans character on screen?

Call us at 866-893-5722.

Guest:

E. Oliver Whitney, senior editor and critic for screencrush.com, a movie and TV website  

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