You may be familiar with a particularly insane Hollywood development recently: Scarlett Johansson was picked to play a woman in a movie. No surprise there. The character in the film was to be dressed like a man, presenting herself as a man.

These days, as you may have heard, some people are calling that a “transgender man.”

The whole man/woman thing is getting a bit confusing (see here, here, and here).

Anyway, so, just as Scarlett — a girl — might play a girl wearing a race car driver’s outfit (otherwise known as a race car driver), or as Scarlett — a female — might portray a female wearing a superhero costume (otherwise knowns as a superhero), Scarlett — a woman — was set for the role of a woman in a man’s clothes (otherwise known, in some circles, as a transgender man).

But some people protested the casting. And why? Because, even though Johansson isn’t really a race car driver or a superhero (or a horse whisperer or a magician’s assistant or a nanny or a psychokinetic butt-kicker, all of which she’s played in movies), she isn’t a woman who dresses like a man in real life. And, therefore, she should not pretend to be one on celluloid. In other words, she shouldn’t…not even act…but…wear different clothes than she wears when she’s not acting?

Hold on…the room is spinning.

Okay.

So, social justice warriors decry acting?

Sounds a fair amount like it.

Nevertheless, Scarlett has at least one supporter — sort of: fellow actress Glenn Close.

Speaking with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Close tried to explain the concept of make-believe in front of a camera to the most doltish among us:

“[Filmmakers] should have the opportunity to cast the best person… Acting is a craft.”

Ohhhh…it’s a craft thing. Okay…

“I personally think that anyone should be able to play anyone. … To me, that’s the real thing, that everybody could play everybody. But I understand why they are so passionate, because this hasn’t happened.”

Don’t give her too much credit. Saying it “hasn’t happened,” Glenn was referring to this:

“I certainly understand the need for those who are the same as the character they are casting… Hopefully, that will happen.”

So she’s hoping someone who does the same thing as a character — and who also is an actor — will be cast as that character? Why would she hope for that? Why would that matter?

Are doctors upset with Robin Williams for playing Patch Adams? Are spies mad at Tom Cruise? Are great whites angry with the mechanical Jaws? Are real reporters ticked at Jim Acosta?

Close knows what it’s like to pretend: in addition to doing her best Cruella for the 101 Dalmations franchise, she won an Oscar in 2012 for portraying Albert Knobbs — a woman pretending to be a man.

Even so, she told the HFPA that producers and directors of projects such as Johansson’s (titled, I kid you not, Rub & Tug) should pander:

“People who are producing and directing properties like that need to go out of their way to get trans actors jobs.”

Is it just me, or are people losing their minds?

 

Please let us all know your thoughts on the situation. I have no problem with people who are currently being called “transgender.” I also have no problem with people who are presently being called “actors.” Can’t both exist, without social engineering and weird affirmative action casting?

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