A Trans Actor Replaces Scarlett Johansson in Rub & Tug Movie

Troubled movie Rub & Tug which was earlier decided to cast Scarlett Johansson as a transgender person is to be revived as a TV show where the lead role will be done by a Trans actor. Emmy-nominated writer-producer Our Lady J has written the show’s pilot.

How did the change happen?

The show’s lead Dante “Tex” Gill is an infamous transgender gangster who became an unlikely major figure in the criminal underworld of ’70s Pittsburgh who built an illicit empire of brothels, tangling with the mafia and dealing steroid.

When Deadline revealed that New Regency had won a script auction for Gill’s story where Scarlett Johansson will play Gill and Rupert Sanders will direct it that didn’t go well with the LGBTQ+ community, and Johansson’s casting caused an uproar on social media alongside her response. And with growing pressure, she had to drop from the movie.

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She told Bustle that questions related to playing trans roles by cisgender actors can be asked to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman who has portrayed the roles “Transparent,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” and “Transamerica” respectively.

Although she tried to defend her place at first, she failed to do it later and was dropped out of the movie a week after her comment.

Rub & Tug revived as a TV show

The project will be made as a TV series and Pose and Transparent producer Our Lady J will write a pilot for New Regency Television, according to the reports on Deadline.

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Our Lady J said to Deadline: “Tex’s life story is like no other, and the rich landscape of this unexplored moment in time has truly captured my imagination. 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 character – Gill portrays a role larger-than-life who became the crime kingpin of 1970s Pittsburgh through an empire of illicit massage parlours and steroids ring that helped the Pittsburgh Steelers’ NFL dynasty. Even, Gill’s romance with girlfriend Cynthia also hit the emotional side.
Dark Castle Entertainment and Material Pictures will be the producer whereas Cindy Bruno Gill will be the consultant on the project. Brendan Koerner, who is a Journalist and author helped in research and writing on Pittsburgh’s Massage Parlor War will be used.

The writer shared that the show would portray the reinvention and losing oneself in the process and the show was based on that time when living authentically wasn’t easy as it used to come with the price of social ostracisation and it left him vulnerable and started doing crime. Along with this, the story will revolve around the city’s struggle for rebirth and a community’s efforts to make its voice heard to everyone.

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