Casting remarks were 'widely taken out of context': Scarlett Johansson

Los Angeles: Scarlett Johansson has clarified her recent comments about politically correctness and casting in Hollywood as controversy threatened to brew, claiming her remarks were "edited for click bait" and "widely taken out of context".

"An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context," the actor said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly, referring to a recent article from the arts and culture publication As If.

In the said interview, she seemed to have reflected upon her casting as a transgender man in "Rub and Tug", a film she left after backlash, saying an actor should be free to explore a wide range of characters and art should not be bound by restrictions.

"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 clarified in the statement.

Last July, Johansson dropped out of Rupert Sanders' "Rub and Tug", in which she was attached to portray real life figure Dante Tex Gill, gangster and massage parlour owner, following outrage from the LGBT community.

The actor also went on to clear up some of the points made during the original interview, emphasising that there is a gulf between Caucasian, cis gendered actors and their colleagues when it comes to opportunities.

"I recognise that in reality, there is a wide spread 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," she said.

"I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included," she added.

With the interview in question, Johansson once again found herself at the centre of a controversy, this time for her response to a question about political correctness and her casting in "Rub & Tub", directed by Rupert Sanders.

"You know, as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because that's my job and the requirements of my job...

"I feel like (political correctness is) 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 was quoted saying to As If.

Sanders' previous film "Ghost in the Shell" (2017), starring Johansson as a Japanese manga character, had also received a lot of backlash for casting a Caucasian actor for the role. The film was accused of racism and whitewashing.

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