AceShowbiz - "Rub & Tug" may not be happening altogether following Scarlett Johansson's exit. The actress dropped out of the project due to controversy regarding her casting as a real-life Pennsylvania crime boss Jean Marie Gill a.k.a. Dante "Tex" Gill, who may have been a transgender, and now the future of the movie is said in limbo.
An individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap that it is unclear if "Rub & Tug" will actually go into production. The insider says "it doesn't look good for the movie." And while Rupert Sanders is still attached as producer, it's unclear if Johansson's production company These Pictures will stay on to produce.
Joel Silver's Silver Pictures is also listed as a production company on the film, but Silver has not commented on the future of the movie. It won't be surprising if these studios back out of the project, since they almost certainly won't risk their money and make the movie without a big star in the role. While a transgender actor would be the right choice for the role, it's hard to find a trans actor with a star level like Johansson who will fit into the role.
Johansson was initially adamant about playing Dante "Tex" Gill despite the backlash. She said via her representative, "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."
Days later, however, she changed her mind and exited the project. She said in a statement, "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..."
She received praises for her decision, but apparently it does nothing good for the movie.