Scarlett Johansson says she personally feels that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. Picture: AP

Scarlett Johansson believes art should be "immune to political correctness" and insisted her recent comments about being able to "play any person" were taken out of context.

The 34-year-old actress recently claimed she should be "allowed to play any person" after previously being criticised for landing the lead role in the adaptation of Japanese anime tale A Ghost in the Shell and for accepting the part of a transgender man in the upcoming movie Rub & Tug – a role which she exited after public outrage –- but has now insisted her comments were "taken out of context".

She said in a statement to Variety: "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.

"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."

Johansson insisted she supports "diversity in every industry" and recognises the fact there is a "wide spread discrepancy" about the sort of roles on offer to actors.

She added: "I recognise that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours Caucasian, cisgender 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."

In the original interview, she admitted she felt she should be able to "play any person, or tree, or animal".

She told As If magazine: "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. 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. 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."