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Internet angry over Scarlett Johansson playing a trans person


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https://www.google.com/amp/ew.com/movies/2018/07/07/scarlett-johansson-transgender-casting-controversy-rub-tug/amp/

 

do you guys think trans roles should only be given to trans actors? I see their point, and trans actors are severely underrepresented, but I also enjoy the acting part of acting and being able to see somebody undergo a transformation and deliver a great performance. I don’t think Dallas Buyers Club would be as good if they substituted Jared Leto for a lesser trans actor. If the trans actor is a great actor and fits what the director is going for, I think they should get it. But I don’t think it should be some exclusive thing either way. Hollywood is super white-washed but I think we can find some kind of balance where people get roles that are more “made for them” (for lack of a better word) and roles that let people do something different and challenging. 

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1 hour ago, Rev said:

Nope and I'm also totally cool with trans actors playing cis roles if they have the talent for it. They're actors. It's their job to pretend to be people they're not.

At the end of the day, this is the truth. A good actor is supoose to be able to be in the role 100% of who they are portraying. Doesn't matter of the role requires an actor to be trans, with a disability, or even of a different race. Some people may not like it but that is an actor's job. I do think if a person of the respective role's need is available to do it they should get a Crack at it but an actor has to make us believe.

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5 minutes ago, darkness35 said:

I mean if it's anything Scarjo should have never played Motoko in Ghost in the Shell, so I'm on the "fuck Scarjo train"

If you’re going to be mad about that then why not be mad at the people who cast scarjo and not her. 

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10 hours ago, Rev said:

Nope and I'm also totally cool with trans actors playing cis roles if they have the talent for it. They're actors. It's their job to pretend to be people they're not.

 

While I agree, that's not how it works in reality, so saying it should be this is like saying: "everyone should always be honest". Well yeah, sure they should, but people aren't, that's why we have laws that force/compel people into being honest as best as possible (and even then, the system is highly unsuccessful). Institutionalized lack of representation is a real thing. "Best person for the job" is the biggest lie we tell everyone because that's not how hiring practices have almost ever worked. Especially thanks to subconscious biases and instituionalized biases. 

 

Similarly, representation matters since the system doesn't work like it should. So it needs to be forced, similarly, as it does in my "everyone should be honest" example. While I'm not upset ScarJo is playing a trans person at all, I think they should have tried to hire a trans person. 

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I think the larger reality is chicken and egg. Someone like Johannson has the cache to get a film funding, she's a rare known talent that can still open a film (like Lucy). Then, you have the unfortunate fact that there are very few trans actors with any cache at all, largely because they can't get non-trans roles. It's a rough situation.

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I think @Wild has a good point. Right now, for a movie like this, I wouldn't be surprised if it came down to "this movie gets made with Scarlett Johansson or it doesn't get made at all." Same for Transparent and Jeffrey Tambor, etc. I think we'll see more trans actors in whatever roles in the future, but the reality of making movies, especially small ones, is that a marketable actor like Johansson changes the calculus for what gets made and what doesn't. It's not all that different than movies like Skyscraper or Rampage are far more likely to get made if they can get the Rock.

 

Yes trans people are underrepresented on screen, and yes it would be better if trans people can represent themselves on screen, but I also don't have an inherent problem with cis people playing trans or whatever else.

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49 minutes ago, TwinIon said:

I think @Wild has a good point. Right now, for a movie like this, I wouldn't be surprised if it came down to "this movie gets made with Scarlett Johansson or it doesn't get made at all." Same for Transparent and Jeffrey Tambor, etc. I think we'll see more trans actors in whatever roles in the future, but the reality of making movies, especially small ones, is that a marketable actor like Johansson changes the calculus for what gets made and what doesn't. It's not all that different than movies like Skyscraper or Rampage are far more likely to get made if they can get the Rock.

 

Yes trans people are underrepresented on screen, and yes it would be better if trans people can represent themselves on screen, but I also don't have an inherent problem with cis people playing trans or whatever else.

 

If that were true, Johansson should push to put a trans actor in the role and take another major role in the movie, if that's what it is about, no? I'm not saying they have to, but they theoretically could. 

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12 minutes ago, Greatoneshere said:

 

If that were true, Johansson should push to put a trans actor in the role and take another major role in the movie, if that's what it is about, no? I'm not saying they have to, but they theoretically could. 

 

Or, better yet, push for a trans actor to get a non-trans role. Because while the under-representation of trans actors is a problem, I think it would be just as big of a problem if trans actors were perpetually typecast for trans roles.

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2 minutes ago, Chris- said:

 

Or, better yet, push for a trans actor to get a non-trans role. Because while the under-representation of trans actors is a problem, I think it would be just as big of a problem if trans actors were perpetually typecast for trans roles.

 

Agreed, that's even better. Even more "fair" in some ways by avoiding the criticisms of typecasting, possibly.

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2 minutes ago, Greatoneshere said:

If that were true, Johansson should push to put a trans actor in the role and take another major role in the movie, if that's what it is about, no? I'm not saying they have to, but they theoretically could. 

 

I don't know anything about this movie other than what we got from the article in the OP:

Quote

According to trade reports, Johansson will star as Dante “Tex” Gill, a real-life figure who used a string of massage parlors as fronts for prostitution in Pittsburgh during the ’70s and ’80s; Gill was born Jean Marie Gill, but identified as a man.

That sure makes it sound like it's primarily the story of one person. If it's really a case of "this movie gets made with Johansson or doesn't get made," it's highly unlikely that there's a comparable role in the film that would be marketed around. It's not like you spend $120M to make Rampage if Dwayne Johnson is the zoo keeper at the beginning of the film and not the action star.

 

I mean, if the only goal here is to make a movie about a trans person playing a trans person, then theoretically Johansson could pay for the whole production herself, but that's not a very useful hypothetical.

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1 minute ago, TwinIon said:

That sure makes it sound like it's primarily the story of one person. If it's really a case of "this movie gets made with Johansson or doesn't get made," it's highly unlikely that there's a comparable role in the film that would be marketed around. It's not like you spend $120M to make Rampage if Dwayne Johnson is the zoo keeper at the beginning of the film and not the action star.

 

I mean, if the only goal here is to make a movie about a trans person playing a trans person, then theoretically Johansson could pay for the whole production herself, but that's not a very useful hypothetical.

 

I mean, I did say major role, not the zoo keeper at the beginning of Rampage (I haven't seen Rampage but it sounded like it's a minor role? lol). 

 

But if it is indeed the story of one person, and it can only be funded with a major star in the major role (both are assumptions giving the studio a lot of rope), then okay, cast Johansson. But we all see how only hiring already bankable stars does indeed just perpetuate the same bankable stars preventing anyone new from making inroads. It's a tough situation to be fair. 

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1 hour ago, Greatoneshere said:

 

I mean, I did say major role, not the zoo keeper at the beginning of Rampage (I haven't seen Rampage but it sounded like it's a minor role? lol). 

 

But if it is indeed the story of one person, and it can only be funded with a major star in the major role (both are assumptions giving the studio a lot of rope), then okay, cast Johansson. But we all see how only hiring already bankable stars does indeed just perpetuate the same bankable stars preventing anyone new from making inroads. It's a tough situation to be fair. 

I think you are putting more on the actor than is fair in most respects.  I know these people are rich - but at the same time they are always looking for their next job.  You can't expect them to come back from an offer to play a part and suggest that they take a smaller/different role and give their role to someone else.  I'm not saying that can't or won't happen, but it isn't what typically ever happens.  Just as it isn't the average employee's role in a company to ensure there is racial diversity.  In this case the movie studio is the employer and the duty to ensure any kind of equality (whatever that means to whomever) is going to have to fall to them.  

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Just now, number305 said:

I think you are putting more on the actor than is fair in most respects.  I know these people are rich - but at the same time they are always looking for their next job.  You can't expect them to come back from an offer to play a part and suggest that they take a smaller/different role and give their role to someone else.  I'm not saying that can't or won't happen, but it isn't what typically ever happens.  Just as it isn't the average employee's role in a company to ensure there is racial diversity.  In this case the movie studio is the employer and the duty to ensure any kind of equality (whatever that means to whomever) is going to have to fall to them.  

 

It does happen though. I do agree it's not the norm, but this isn't a normal situation either. As I said, I don't think ScarJo has to do anything, but it's preferred. At least a failed attempt. Publicize the issue. I don't know - something. We always live in this "me first" culture. Maybe ScarJo should pass on the job, there are plenty of others someone like her could get. Like I said, she shouldn't have to, but it'd be nice. 

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26 minutes ago, Greatoneshere said:

 

It does happen though. I do agree it's not the norm, but this isn't a normal situation either. As I said, I don't think ScarJo has to do anything, but it's preferred. At least a failed attempt. Publicize the issue. I don't know - something. We always live in this "me first" culture. Maybe ScarJo should pass on the job, there are plenty of others someone like her could get. Like I said, she shouldn't have to, but it'd be nice. 

 

So would you turn down a job in a workplace that wasn't diverse enough.  Tell your employer they should hire someone else?

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2 minutes ago, number305 said:

 

So would you turn down a job in a workplace that wasn't diverse enough.  Tell your employer they should hire someone else?

 

If the project was about diversity, probably. I'm a first generation Pakistani-American though, so . . . I wouldn't need to leave but I would say that if I were white. 

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ScarJo is an actor. Why should she pass on a role that she wants to do because maybe they could cast a trans actor instead? She’s the employee. I think it would be more realistic to ask ScarJo to push for underrepresented people to be cast alongside her. I imagine that a movie about a trans person is going to have other trans characters. Perfect opportunity to include real trans people. 

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2 hours ago, sblfilms said:

Putting pressure on employees/contract labor to make their employers value diversity is incredibly unfair. It’s one thing if she were a producer on the film, but as far as I know she’s just acting in it.

 

Hey, I'm just saying she can, and I've seen employees do it in real life. I'm not saying she should, no pressure there, but she could if it was important enough to her, especially someone in her position.

 

55 minutes ago, johnny said:

ScarJo is an actor. Why should she pass on a role that she wants to do because maybe they could cast a trans actor instead? She’s the employee. I think it would be more realistic to ask ScarJo to push for underrepresented people to be cast alongside her. I imagine that a movie about a trans person is going to have other trans characters. Perfect opportunity to include real trans people. 

 

I did indeed suggest the latter earlier in this thread as more reasonable. 

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Trans actors are indeed not well represented in Hollywood. Part of this is probably a function of the fact that very few make into Hollywood, and there are very few trans people. But lets go head and assume they're underrepresented anyway. We also, presumably, want to help normalize trans people. In fact, that is probably the main social goal if we can ascribe any to a movie.

 

With that larger goal in mind we can ask the question: "which will be more successful at normalizing trans people: a movie about it staring a big star like ScarJo? or the same movie that casts an unknown trans actor?

 

There is a reasonable argument to be made that the star power of ScarJo will have greater impact than finding an unknown quantity. There is also a reasonable argument to be made that finding an equally talented trans actor for the part is infeasible and may insisting on a trans actor may require settling for someone less talented. Consequently, the movie might not do as well.

 

Of course, I don't know if that's true or not, but at least now we have an objective question we can try to debate, and we can set aside our internet outrage to investigate it.

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6 hours ago, Greatoneshere said:

 

If that were true, Johansson should push to put a trans actor in the role and take another major role in the movie, if that's what it is about, no? I'm not saying they have to, but they theoretically could. 

 

Unfortunately that still gets them some flack, as seen by the article when one of the trans actors raising the problem here is actually on Transparent. The complain is that they can't get in the same room as Scarlett Johansson, but that's also the case of 99.9% of the actors in Hollywood. I think it's going to take a breakout performance from a trans actor that lucks into (ie works their ass off to get) a breakthrough role.

 

I don't know, I see both sides of the coin and neither feels like a clear choice. You could argue it is comparable to blackface, but we also praise Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan and I don't think anyone thought twice about that.

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3 minutes ago, Wild said:

 

Unfortunately that still gets them some flack, as seen by the article when one of the trans actors raising the problem here is actually on Transparent. The complain is that they can't get in the same room as Scarlett Johansson, but that's also the case of 99.9% of the actors in Hollywood. I think it's going to take a breakout performance from a trans actor that lucks into (ie works their ass off to get) a breakthrough role.

 

I don't know, I see both sides of the coin and neither feels like a clear choice. You could argue it is comparable to blackface, but we also praise Cate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan and I don't think anyone thought twice about that.

 

I think that's because women playing men isn't in the least bit offensive. But if Cate Blanchett played a black man, then it's a problem. It's all about respecting sensitivities. No one is saying make the movie a demagoguery of trans people or anything, they just want representation about their own kind done by their own kind. Same as how blackface is a problem because of how oppressed they were and what blackface represents. 

 

Again though, it's not clear cut, I agree. 

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