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Rupert Everett slams ‘blinkered’ backlash over Scarlett Johansson trans role

Rupert Everett. Picture: Chris Pizzello Invision AP

Rupert Everett. Picture: Chris Pizzello Invision AP

Published May 22, 2022

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Rupert Everett has condemned the “blinkered” backlash, which prompted Scarlett Johansson to drop plans to play a transgender role, in the new movie “Rub and Tug”.

The “Lost in Translation” star had been due to portray crime boss Dante “Tex” Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill, but identified as a man, however, he exited the film after the casting angered the trans community.

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Now Rupert has insisted the furore over Scarlett's role was misguided, telling “Piers Morgan Uncensored”: "People forget that Hollywood is a business. So, for example, when Scarlett Johansson was stopped from playing a trans role, there simply wasn’t a trans actress at that point big enough to sustain a 50-60 million dollar movie.

“I found that was a mistake of the trans community because there were probably lots of other trans roles in the film that would have been played by trans actresses and Scarlett Johansson wasn’t going to be doing some portraits that were anti-trans.

“So I felt it was slightly blinkered attitude.”

Scarlett explained her decision to quit the project in a statement to “Out” magazine, saying: “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 realise it was insensitive,” she said.

During his appearance on “Piers Morgan Uncensored”, Rupert also revealed that he feels “frustrated” by straight actors winning gay movie roles and feared his career was over when he lost the lead in “A Single Man” to Colin Firth.

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The star shot to fame playing a gay public school boy in 1984 film “Another Country” opposite Kenneth Branagh and he has previously admitted he thought going public with his sexuality had harmed his Hollywood career.

He opened up about the “frustration” of losing the lead role in Tom Ford's acclaimed 2009 drama “A Single Man”, which told the story of a depressed gay British university professor in the 1960s.

Speaking on show, Rupert explained: “It’s quite frustrating. I was frustrated, I remember going to see Colin Firth in the film by Tom Ford (’A Single Man’).

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“I thought: ‘Well, thanks, Colin, that’s the end of my career. Because, you know, that role really should have been mine.'

“So, you know, there’s a frustration about that, of course.”

Rupert went on to add: “I don’t think gay actors should just play the gay roles. I think that the gay actors should be able to play the straight roles too, I think some straight guys played great gay roles.”

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