With Scarlett Johansson's Exit, 'Rub & Tug' Unlikely To Move Forward

There aren't a lot of stars big enough they can get a movie off the ground just by name value, but Scarlett Johansson is definitely one of them. With this latest controversy surrounding her casting as a transgender man in the biopic Rub & Tug, my stated concern all along was that the film was only happening because of her involvement. And sadly now that she's dropped out my concerns have proven warranted.

According to The Wrap's sources, "it doesn't look good" for the film, which centers on Dante "Tex" Gill, head of a criminal steroid ring that used massage parlors as a front. Gill was often misidentified as a cross-dressing woman but it was soon clarified by a family member that he definitely identified as a man. Johansson faced a backlash from LGBTQ actors against the idea of a cisgender actress playing trans. She initially faced the criticism head-on, referencing the many award-winning performances by cis actors in trans role, but that only made things worse.  A statement was made by her days later announcing her departure from the project. 

Still on board is director Rupert Sanders, but Johansson was what got the film moving in the first place.  Her production company was a major component, as well, and it's unclear if she will remain involved in any capacity.