The Real Reason Scarlett Johansson Keeps Taking Controversial Roles

Scarlett Johansson has earned quite the reputation in recent years, and it’s not really a good one. The 34-year-old actress has certainly been building her resume, but a couple of the roles she’s chosen to accept have sparked no small amount of controversy. But what is the real reason that Johansson keeps accepting roles that cause so much contention?

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Her most controversial movies

As a white woman, critics were outraged to find out that Johansson was taking on the lead role of Major Mira Killian in Ghost in the Shell, where she depicted an Asian woman. Johansson was accused of white-washing the film with her acceptance of the part. Furthermore, controversy also broke out after it was announced that she would be playing a transgender man in an upcoming film, Rub & Tug. As there are plenty of trans men willing and able to play the role, people were affronted that the actress would ever even accept the part. After a massive amount of complaints, Johannson wisely decided to pull out of the project, but the damage was already done.

Any person, tree, or animal

While many actors know better than to say yes to certain roles, Johannson seems to have a different perspective. In a recent interview with As If magazine, Johansson admitted that she should be allowed to play any and every role. “You know, as an actor, I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.” The Other Boleyn Girl actress declared. This statement perfectly epitomizes why Johansson keeps taking on roles despite their controversial nature.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

A new age of art

Johansson continued on to say that she feels that a lot of art is driven by political correctness these days and she doesn’t necessarily agree with that. “There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art. I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions” The Prestige actress confessed.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

White & cisgender privilege

Naturally following the interview’s release, many people were outraged and accused Johannson of failing to acknowledge her privilege. The Internet did not hesitate to drag her over her belief that she should be able to play any role. The outrage was so great that the actress took it upon herself to release a subsequent statement clarifying her beliefs. “An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context. The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art” the 34-year-old declared.

The fight for diversity

Johansson then went on to address those who believed she was not considering her white, cisgender privilege and how she was taking roles away from other actors who didn’t have the same opportunities she did because of their race or gender. “I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis-gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to. I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included” the Girl With The Pearl Earring actress said.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

Learning from her mistakes

It’s great to see that Johannson quickly attempted to correct this faux pas. She seems to be learning from past mistakes and we can only hope that she stands behind her statement. As one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, she definitely wields enough power to help ensure that more people from all different walks of life have a seat at the table.