‘Rub & Tug’ To Be Revived With Trans Actor After Scarlett Johansson Casting Controversy Led To Movie’s Cancellation

Back in 2018, it was announced that Scarlett Johansson had been cast in the lead role in “Rub & Tug”, a gangster flick based on the true story of massage parlour entrepreneur Dante “Tex Gill,” a transgender man who clashed with the Philadelphia mob.

Controversy over the casting from the LGBTQ community ultimately led to the film being scrapped.

However, the project is now being revived, getting a do-over as a TV series — with a commitment to cast a trans actor in the role.

RELATED: Scarlett Johansson Exits Movie, Backs Out Of Playing Transgender Character After Backlash

According to a report in Deadline, the pilot will be written by Our Lady J, whose credits include “Pose” and “Transparent”, and holds the distinction of being the first trans writer hired for the writers room of a TV series.

“Industry leaders are hearing, and even joining, the call to hire talented and experienced transgender storytellers like Our Lady J to tell trans stories. Authentic trans stories are compelling and largely untold, and when told well they attract acclaim from audiences, critics and award shows, as we’ve seen with ‘Pose’ and ‘A Fantastic Woman’,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, in an announcement.

RELATED: Trans Actors Take Swipe At Scarlett Johansson As Actress Continues To Face Backlash Over ‘Rub & Tug’ Casting

“Tex’s life story is like no other, and the rich landscape of this unexplored moment in time has truly captured my imagination,” added Our Lady J. “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to write a gangster drama based on such a fascinating and diverse web of queer characters. The show is about the promise of reinvention, and the peril of losing oneself in the process. Tex Gill was out and proud in an era – the late 1970s – when living authentically came with the price of social ostracization, leaving him vulnerable to a life of crime and lawlessness. Having grown up in Pennsylvania myself, I’m also excited to delve deep into Pittsburgh’s underbelly as it unspools the story of Tex’s remarkable life – it’s also the story of a city’s struggle for rebirth and a proud community’s efforts to make its voice heard.”

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