Scarlett Johansson Issues Statement Clarifying ‘Political Correctness’ Comments: ‘Any Actor Should Be Able To Play Anybody’

Scarlett Johansson is a busy and in-demand actress. But with many projects in the works, the “Avengers: Endgame” actress is detailing some of her favourite roles.

As she explained in the new issue of AS IF Magazine, Johansson’s latest role, next to Adam Driver in the untitled Noah Baumbach film, is something she’s proud of but noted it’s particularly “exhausting.”

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“I did a job with Adam Driver recently which is coming out later this year,” she said. “We spent two entire days screaming at each other, brutally screaming and fighting for two full days. It was exhausting, but if I didn’t have as strong an actor as Adam to take all stuff I was giving him I would have been lost. For me, working with other actors is a really important part of what I do… it’s everything.”

But 2003’s “Lost In Translation” stands out as a favourite.

“[People will] say to me, that movie means everything to me, I was living that experience,” Johansson explained. “You see, I was 17 when I made that movie, I was having my own experience that was very different to what the character I was playing was experiencing. The way audiences perceived my character was feeling and experiencing was, in actuality, very different from what I, the actor, was feeling and experiencing making the movie. I never assumed that my experience was something others could relate to because it was so specific to me and to where I was in my life. I can’t begin to tell you how many people thought that film was about travel and being a stranger in a strange land. I’m always so amazed when I get those comments. To me, ‘Lost In Translation’ was so specific to a young woman experiencing her loss of innocence, and her profound relationship with a stranger made the experience transformative. To me, the film was so much more about the relationship between my character and Bill Murray’s character than being in a foreign land. The fact that she was in a place alien to her made it possible for her to get a perspective on her life that she wouldn’t have had in her own familiar surroundings and being suffocated by the expectations of those around her.”

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And 2013’s “Under The Skin” was a great film, but was tough to shoot, “I remember when we were shooting ‘Under The Skin’ in Scotland and it was about 7 degrees outside—it was so cold. At that point my character was wet all the time because I spent a big portion of the film outside and it was raining and snowing.”

She added, “My hair and clothes were always wet from the rain machines and actual rain. I was completely drenched and cold. In between takes the costume director would give me a warming jacket because I’m sure she saw I was turning blue, and the director Jonathan Glazer pulled her aside and asked her to stop giving me the jacket.”

Johansson also addressed the criticism she faced when she was set to play a transmasculine male in “Rub & Tub” (which she later withdrew from) or her part in the popular Japanese manga film “Ghost In The Shell”.

Mostly having stayed quite surrounding the criticism, the actress said she doesn’t like the “political correctness” that people are placing on her when picking her roles.

“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,” Johansson explained. “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.” She added, “I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.”

Johansson’s comments were met with backlash, and on Sunday she issued a statement to ET Canada insisting her words were “taken out of context” but remains steadfast in her belief that “any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness.”

“An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” says Johansson in her statement. “The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art. I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way.”

She continues: “I recognize that in reality, there is a widespread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours 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.”

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