Scarlett Johansson is in deep-shit again for raging against identity politics. In 2018, Johansson abandoned her starring role as a transgender man in the film Rub & Tug, in the thick of reaction from left-wing SJWs and LGBTQI activists — who believed that a transgender actor should be cast in the role.
Recently Johansson was interviewed for As If magazine by contemporary artist David Salle. In response to a question about politically correct casting, Johansson told Salle:
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.
As an actor myself, I have strong opinions on this subject. The role of an actor is to play characters, nationalities, genders and fictional creatures in which he or she is not. It’s a world of make-believe and in make-believe — anything goes. Acting is not dictated by identity or societal acceptance. If it were, it would limit the power of the art form.
To suggest that an actor can only play a role “authentically” if they have lived and breathed the experience is moronic. I’m pretty sure Australian actor, Mal Kennard didn’t have the “lived experience” of being Ivan Milat when he played the serial killer in Seven’s miniseries Catching Milat. I’m pretty sure Kevin Bacon didn’t have the “lived experience” of being a paedophile when he played sex-offender Walter in The Woodsman. They pretended to be these characters — it’s their craft.
It could be said that a transgender actor “missed out on a break” when the role goes to a cisgendered actor. But saying that a non-trans actor can’t play a trans role or that a privileged Caucasian actor can’t play a marginalised character is utter bullshit.
Rigidity murders art. Rules murder art. Political correctness not only murders art. It skins it and buries it. Artists require freedom in order to express, create and rebel. Artists cannot allow themselves to be shut down by the church of wokeness which is slowly killing comedy, music and literature.
I support Johansson’s right to defend her artform and speak up against narrow-minded concepts and I can’t wait to see her play an Oscar-winning tree.
Vanessa de Large is a freelance journalist, sex columnist and public speaker that divides her time between London and Melbourne. You can find more of her work on her website.
Illustration: Marvel Studios.
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