Scarlett Johansson Gives Up Trans Role

Black Widow

It’s being reported that Scarlett Johansson has chosen to no longer participate in the new film where she would play a transgender character.

In a revised statement, released today, the actress says:

In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues … While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.

We figured things would work out in this matter. Too much momentum has already been generated moving trans performers to center stage. As we reported just moments ago, with Cassandra James landing a spot on General Hospital, with Alexandra Billings performing wonderfully as a judge on Goliath with the show Pose moving to its second season, the season of trans actors is at hand.

Scarlett is no idiot.

We love seeing things going positively in all directions. Being on the right side of history always feels better. Of course, the right side in this case is yielding such roles to those more apt to play them. Scarlett also isn’t struggling. With so many roles under her belt and with being the highest paid actress from 2014 – 2016, she certainly doesn’t need the money.

That said, there’s news that her decision was intentionally made to save her iconic role as Black Widow. At the time of this writing, Forbes is saying:

Even if we give Johansson the benefit of the doubt that she merely saw the true-life crime melodrama (think American Made) as a juicy role about a “tough woman” who assumed a male identity to succeed in a male-dominated arena, the outcry has been fast and furious: Tokyo drift. Speaking of Tokyo Drift, couple this with the controversy over her playing the lead in last year’s Ghost in the Shell adaptation, where she technically played a Japanese woman whose mind and soul were transported into the body of a white lady, and I imagine the actress decided it wasn’t worth it. There was little chance of Johansson scoring awards consideration or even much acclaim unless the movie turned out to be a stone-cold masterpiece. Even then, it would be hounded by the controversy which would have become the prime narrative around the otherwise run-of-the-mill studio programmer which would need positive media attention to survive alongside the tentpoles. Whether it would have made any money is an open question (Dallas Buyers Club, with a huge Oscar boost, earned $55m worldwide on a $5m budget in 2013/2014), but it wasn’t worth the possibility of doing PR-related damage to the Black Widow movie.

Frankly, we don’t care why she ditched the role. It was the right move.

Hollywood trans snubbing…is it over?

Cassandra James
Cassandra James via Instagram

Despite a lot of hubbub about transgender characters not being represented in film some are making it quite nicely in Hollywood thank you very much.


Now, before anyone sends hate mail our way, NOTE THAT WE ALWAYS focus on the positive here at The Transamorous Network because, we know, when you aren’t focusing on the positive YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM NOT THE SOLUTION.

Focusing on the problem seems like the way to go because it agitates and gives the activists something to do while the natural progression of “it’s always getting better” takes care of….making things better. We love a recent tweet we saw (today actually) that speaks volumes:


So when you’re fighting against some injustice, you’re just causing more of that injustice to happen. Just like if you push against someone, they dig in their heels.

So we are super-stoked to give massive props and congrats to Canadian Actress Cassandra James for her role playing a trans character in the iconic and legendary Soap Opera General Hospital. It’s a massive accomplishment and we are eager for her to represent the community is a positive way. We also are eager to see even more good trans actors and actresses get Hollywood roles in the future.

In the meantime, Cassandra is in good company. In our Facebook Live Show IN YOUR FACE, we noted Alexandra Billings playing the role of a judge in the Amazon series Goliath alongside Billy Bob Thornton. A convincing portrayal, we must add (way to go Alexandra. You nailed the role). What’s particularly of note here is Alexandra’s status as a transperson played no part in her character’s role. That’s nice, because we recently were talking about transgender people playing straight roles or at least roles where their transness is irrelevant.  To see Alexandra playing a judge (a major part of the show) was refreshing.

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Alexandra Billings via Instagram

So, despite what people are compalining about, there is progress being made. There is always room to go, of course. There is forever room to grow. That’s what makes life the thrilling ride that it is.

But to claim that no progress is being made is only participating in the problem. Not acknowledging the progress evident. We know if everyone focused their energies on what’s going right – in every aspect of life – we wouldn’t have the polarized society we have in America, including the rancor we see between cis and trans, but we also know that variety/diversity is the spice of life. And that diversity includes diversity of life experience.

Way to go humanity!