After Scarlett Johansson's withdrawal from 'Rub and Tug,' these transgender actors should be given a shot at Dante “Tex” Gill
Scarlett Johansson's withdrawal means that a transgender actor can have a shot at the part. Here are our top six picks from the talented lot
In the latest news of 'Rub and Tug' casting controversy, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson dropped out of a role in which she was going to play a transgender man, after a massive backlash from the LGBT community.
Last week, it was announced that the 'Lucy' star would play the role of Dante “Tex” Gill, the Pittsburgh crime boss who ran a network of massage parlors covering a front for prostitution in the 1970s. The news spread like wildfire on social media and the actress and the cast were slammed for casting a straight white actress for the role when there were so many aspiring and talented transgender actors in the mix to choose from.
This year has been a year of phenomenal breakthrough for the LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood, especially after the success of Ryan Murphy's 'Pose' that boasts over 140 transgender cast and crew. The show set in the drag ballroom culture of 1980s New York is directed, written and acted by transgenders, and has been doing amazingly well in the critical and ratings department that it was even renewed for a second season
Inthis context and knowledge that Gill lived his life as a trans man, many questioned why a trans actor was not tapped for the role.
The upcoming 'Rub & Tug,' is being helmed by 'Ghost in the Shell' director, who was also criticized for casting a Johannson (A White actress) to play a character who is Asian in the original Japanese manga. The argument was similar but on the issues pertaining to opportunity and visibility for Asian and Asian-American actors in films and a concern over white-washing of an Asian character.
On July 16, following a deadly outcry from Trans community and activists, Scar Jo, who is otherwise a much-loved actress, announced her withdrawal from the movie with a statement released in Out Magazine.
"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. According to Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40 percent in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release,” Johansson states.
In a recent interview, Gill's cousin Barry Paris told The Wrap that Gill would have been happy with Johansson's decision. "I’d say it’s a toss-up, but I think it’s slightly more likely he would have liked to be played by a man because he identified as a man,” Paris said, adding, "I’m sure he would have liked to have been played by a transgender man, but in his day that was very rare.”
Speculations are on if the movie is still on the cards, especially after Scar Jo's quitting since she was also going to produce the film. However, come what may, many are of the view that the outcry on this is a game changer for Hollywood. If the movie still happens, and the makers are on the lookout for someone to play the part of Dante Gill, here are our top six picks.
1. Ian Harvie
The 50-year-old comedian and actor has a huge fan base, not only because he is smart and funny, but also because he is serious about acting. Known best for his appearance on the television show 'Transparent,' he has also starred in 'Mistresses' and 'Young & Hungry.' Harvie got his big break in acting when doing an opening comedy act for Margaret Cho. Last year, he was one of the transgender actors taking part in a filmed letter to Hollywood written by Jen Richards, asking for more and better roles for transgender people.
2. Chaz Bono
The 49-year-old Chaz Bono is a perfect candidate to play Dante “Tex” Gill in his late 40s. Born to superstars, Cher and Sonny Bono, Chaz started his transition in 2008 taking a surgical route. As a writer, advocate and actor, he has acted in TV series including 'The Bold and the Beautiful' and 'American Horror Story.' He was born with the name Chastity but changed it to Chaz after the transition. Ever since he has made several appearances on television and has 13 credits under his belt as an actor.
3. Buck Angel
Buck Angel honed his acting skills majoring in the adult film industry but that does not mean he isn't fit to pay Dante. The 46-year-old has received awards for his "performance" and is a successful producer and motivational speaker. Buck's documentary, 'Mr. Angel', about his life and transition from a female to male, was briefly featured on Netflix. In 2007, he received an award from Adult Video News (AVN) for Transsexual Performer of the Year in 2007 for his work in the adult entertainment industry, and has, since then, received international recognition while pioneering a new genre.
4. Scott Turner Schofield
His one-person shows, 'Underground TRANSit,' 'Debutante Balls,' and 'Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps,' has toured the globe since 2001. He began as a stage actor and was a recipient of the 2007 Princess Grace Awards, receiving a theater fellowship in acting, the Gant Gaither Award. Following which, he worked as the assistant to French director Eric Vigner on Bernard Marie Koltes' play 'In the Solitude of Cotton Fields' besides working with actress Anne Tismer and Crystal Dickinson. In 2015, Schofield became the first openly transgender actor to play a major role on daytime television, as the character Nick in 'The Bold and the Beautiful'.
5. Jake Graf
He might have to work on his accent but the London-born transgender actor was invited to visit the White House to take part in a Q&A with President Barack Obama in 2015. The actor is known for his short films 'Brace,' 'Dusk,' and 'Chance.' Besides being an actor, he is also a writer, director, and a filmmaker. His films, which are usually minutes long focuses on normalizing queer. He started transitioning when he was 28-years-old.
Appearing as Big Boo on 'Orange Is The New Black,' DeLaria was the first openly gay comic to appear on a late-night talk show in 1993 on 'The Arsenio Hall Show.' Her huge fan base has been rooting for her to take the role of Gill. Also a jazz pianist and a social worker, she ventured into acting in 1988 starring in 'Dos Lesbos,' a musical comedy about two lesbians dealing with the issues of living together.