A couple of weeks ago, the actress Scarlett Johansson was forced to pull out of a film role where she was to play a transgendered man. The vociferous T lobby of the ever-expanding LGBTQIA community objected rather forcefully on social media to her casting, saying a real transgender person should play the part.
Since it would presumably be a hate crime to refuse this forceful request Ms Johansson (who still identifies as a woman, I hope) has gamely volunteered to ditch the part. Heaven forbid we upset the transgender community.
I doubt whether Ms Johansson will have too many problems finding other roles to play. She’s a multi award-winning actress who has been in the acting lark since her teens, and has plenty of awards to prove it. But the thought of a sustained campaign of bullying on social media probably helped change her mind and, let’s face it, maybe a much better offer came along.
However, the fallout from this decision could be huge. The gender snowflakes have already won this battle and I presume that they won’t give up now they are on a whining (shouldn’t that be “winning”?-Ed) streak.
It’s a pity that nobody has explained to them what the word acting actually means - involving, as it does, a man or woman playing the part of another man or woman.
For example, are they going to seriously suggest that nobody should be allowed to play Hamlet unless they happen to be a moody Scandinavian avenging their father’s untimely death? I imagine the audition room would remain a bit empty on that one.
Or that only a genuine consumptive should be allowed to sing the part of Mimi in La Boheme? A noble suggestion, perhaps, since opera parts for people suffering from advanced tuberculosis are in painfully short supply.
You can see how ridiculous this could become. But something else the T lobby seems to have forgotten when they insist that a real transgender person play the role previously assigned to Ms Johansson is something called box-office success.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of too many well-known transgender actors with the sort of name that would guarantee bums on seats at the movie house.
Scarlett Johansson could play a paralyzed deaf mute in a movie, and her fans would still buy tickets to see the show. In this film, she was the star attraction, who might have got people out of their homes to go and see a rather dull movie about a transgender massage parlour owner and tax dodger.
As it is, I suspect the project may be dropped by backers due to the lack of a suitably bankable leading laddie.
So this might turn out to be something of an own-goal for team transgender. Unless, of course, someone can be persuaded to put the money up for a remake of Mrs Doubtfire.
David Bullard is a columnist who enjoys lunch. He lives in the Western Cape.
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