The actress accepted the role as transgender Dante Gill only to step away from the project after she was attacked for taking the part from a real transgender actor.
Johansson originally responded to the backlash by defending her casting and pointing to other cisgender actors, like Jared Leto, Felicity Huffman, and Jeffrey Tambor, who have played trans characters on film and TV, but now she tells tells Vanity Fair the way she handled the controversy was a mistake.
"In hindsight, I mishandled that situation," she tells the magazine. "I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it."
"I wasn't totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing - and how they felt in general about cis actors playing - transgender people. I wasn't aware of that conversation. I was uneducated."
"I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you're kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling."
Johansson quit Sanders' film in July 2018, telling Out Magazine, "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."
It wasn't the first time Scarlett and Sanders had caused a stir with a casting decision - she was accused of whitewashing "Ghost in the Shell", a film in which she tackled a role originally created as an Asian character.