Glenn Close Talks Scarlett Johansson Trans Casting Controversy

There’s a good chance Glenn Close will earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her tremendous performance in The Wife, which opens here in DC soon. However, her last nomination came seven years ago for Albert Nobbs, in which she plays a woman living her life as a man so she can make headway in 19th-century Ireland. While that character wasn’t transgender, Close still weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a trans man in Rub & Tug, a role she would ultimately pull out from

“My thinking right now is that people who are producing and directing properties like that need to go out of their way to get trans actors jobs,” Close said in a podcast with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, “but they also should have the opportunity to cast the best person.”

Close added, “Acting is a craft… I think personally that anyone should be able to play anyone. But I do understand the frustration.”


The years since Albert Nobbs have seen many of Hollywood’s top actors playing transgender roles, and earning multiple awards along the way. While there has been a push for greater LGBTQ representation, Johansson’s casting was the final straw for many in the community. Her casting brought criticism from trans actresses who were not afforded the same opportunity, and after standing defiant initially Johansson dropped out from the film. She would have played Dante “Tex” Gill, a 1970s massage parlor owner and head of a prostitution ring. Gill had originally been thought to be a woman posing as a man, but was revealed to be transgender.

The film would have reunited Johansson with Rupert Sanders, her director on Ghost in the Shell, a film that was met with backlash for white-washing the Asian lead character. No replacement for Johansson in Rub & Tug has been found, and it looks like the film may not move forward without her.  [via Deadline]

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