Scarlett Johansson Agrees She 'Mishandled' Trans Role Backlash But Stands By Woody Allen Comments

The Marriage Story actress has sparked controversy on multiple occasions in the last few months, which she addressed in a new Vanity Fair interview.

Scarlett Johansson has agreed she “mishandled” the backlash she faced earlier this year when it was announced she’d be playing a transgender man in a new film.

Over the summer, Scarlett was cast as Dante “Tex” Gill in the upcoming film Tug And Shove, news which many people criticised, suggesting the part should have gone to a trans actor.

While initially the Marriage Story actress refused to budge (even directing her detractors to “Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment”) she eventually stepped down from the project.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Scarlett admitted she thinks she should have dealt with the situation differently, explaining: “In hindsight, I mishandled that situation. 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. So 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.”

However, one area Scarlett would not be moved on was her recent defence of director Woody Allen, who she has collaborated with on three films.

Back in September, Scarlett told The Hollywood Reporter that she “loves Woody” and would happily work with him again, insisting she believes that he is innocent of the accusations of sexual abuse made against him by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Vera Anderson via Getty Images

“I see Woody whenever I can, and I have had a lot of conversations with him about [the accusations]. I have been very direct with him, and he’s very direct with me. He maintains his innocence, and I believe him,” she said at the time.

Asked about this by Vanity Fair, and the ensuing controversy she faced, Scarlett responded: “I’m not a politician, and I can’t lie about the way I feel about things. I don’t have that. It’s just not a part of my personality.

“I don’t want to have to edit myself, or temper what I think or say. I can’t live that way. It’s just not me. And also I think that when you have that kind of integrity, it’s going to probably rub people, some people, the wrong way. And that’s kind of par for the course, I guess.”

Scarlett added: “I don’t know—I feel the way I feel about it. It’s my experience. I don’t know any more than any other person knows. I only have a close proximity with Woody… he’s a friend of mine. But I have no other insight other than my relationship with him.

“I do understand how [saying she believes Woody Allen] is triggering for some people. But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women. I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. You can’t have this blanket statement—I don’t believe that. But that’s my personal belief. That’s how I feel.”

Scarlett with Woody Allen at the premiere of their film Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Scarlett with Woody Allen at the premiere of their film Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images

Woody Allen has always maintained his innocence in light of repeated accusations from Dylan Farrow that he molested her when she was a child.

In 1992, he was investigated over a claim that he had sexually assaulted her at the family’s Connecticut home, though prosecutors did not charge him over the allegations, which he claims had been fabricated by his former partner Mia Farrow.

He is recently ended a legal battle with Amazon, who shelved his film A Rainy Day In New York following the rise of the Me Too movement.

A number of the film’s stars have recently expressed their regret over being involved in the project, including Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet, who went on to split his fee between three charities, including the Time’s Up fund, and Selena Gomez, who also made a donation of $1 million (£772k), exceeding the money she was paid to appear in the film.

Read Scarlett Johnasson’s full interview here.