Rub and Tug resurrected

Scarlett Johansson drew major heat in 2018 when word came out that she would be playing a trans man in Rub and Tug, a feature film intended to reunite the actress with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders. After a loud backlash to that casting announcement, Johansson eventually stepped away from the project altogether, and we haven’t heard any updates about its status…until now.

Rub and Tug, which tells the story of massage parlor kingpin Dante “Tex” Gill and his run-ins with the mafia in 1970s Pittsburgh, is being reworked from a movie into a TV series, and the producers have hired a trans writer to write the pilot script. And the lead role, the one that Johansson was once slated to play? That part will now be played by a trans actor.
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Scarlett Johansson drops out of rub and tug

Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of Rub & Tug, the biopic about a transgender Pittsburgh crime boss that sparked an uproar over whether the cisgender actress should play a trans man.

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rub and tug casting controversy

After news broke that Scarlett Johansson would be re-teaming with her Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders for the biopic Rub & Tug, controversy immediately descended on the duo — again.

The Rub and Tug casting controversy is centered on Johansson playing a transmasculine man who became a notorious Pittsburgh crime boss. In response to the backlash, Johansson has released a statement on the controversy — her second in two years following the allegations of “whitewashing” in Ghost in the Shell.

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