Scarlett Johansson walks back comments about politically correct casting

Scarlett Johansson says she supports diversity in film, though some may doubt that based on recent comments she made about “authentic casting.”

Almost exactly one year ago, Johansson dropped out of the movie Rub & Tug following backlash over her casting in the lead role as a transgender man. She also came under fire in 2017 for playing an Asian character in the movie Ghost in the Shell.

The 34-year-old actress was criticized again for her comments about political correctness in an interview, published last week, with artist David Salle for AS IF magazine.

“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” Johansson said in a statement via her rep on Sunday.

“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.

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

In the interview with Salle, Johansson said that “acting goes through trends” and there were “certainly trends in casting right now.”

“Today there’s a lot of emphasis and conversation about what acting is and who we want to see represent ourselves on screen,” she said. “The question now is, what is acting anyway?”

When discussing who gets to play what roles, the Avengers: Endgame actress said: “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.”

“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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

“Must you only represent yourself, your gender, your ethnicity, or can you, in fact, play beyond these categories?” she asked Salle.

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