There is currently some negative talk about Scarlett Johansson accepting the role of a trans man in a new movie. Trans activists are upset at this because, according to them, a trans role should only be played by a trans actor.
While I respect their opinions, I must disagree with them.
If, in fact, trans roles should only be played by trans actors, then Indiana Jones should only have been played by a real archaeologist, Peter Parker should only have been played by a real teenager bitten by a real radioactive spider and the role of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter should only have been played by the real Loretta Lynn. Linda Hunt should return the Oscar she was awarded for playing a man in The Year of Living Dangerously, because there were plenty of real men available for the role. Christoph Waltz should return the Oscar he was awarded for playing a Nazi in Inglorious Basterds, because there were plenty of real Nazis available for the role. And so on.
These activists must not fully understand three basic things about the movie business:
- The whole point of acting is pretending to be someone you are not.
- A star like Scarlett Johansson can green-light a major motion picture. A relatively unknown trans actor cannot.
- Motion Picture studios are in the business of making money, not shining a light on social injustice.