FOR TRANS ACTORS, GETTING CAST ISN’T EASY — ESPECIALLY UP AGAINST SCARLETT JOHANSSON

'If we don't get the opportunities, we're not going to get the chance to become those bankable names'

Alec Butler is a trans actor, playwright and filmmaker, born in Cape Breton but now based in Toronto. He said it's very disappointing that Scarlett Johansson would take another role away from a trans person. (Nigel Hunt/CBC)

If Alec Butler wants a part in a movie or a play, he’s mostly had to write it himself.

The Cape Breton born, Toronto-based trans actor has written films and plays starring himself as things are “very dry” otherwise.

“It’s disappointing and kind of depressing to be a trans actor in this country, in North America,” he said.

So he was disheartened to see yet another trans role going to a cisgender actor — this time, Scarlett Johansson, one of the top grossing actors in Hollywood. She will play a transgender man in Rub & Tug, a film about crime boss Dante (Tex) Gill, who ran an empire of massage parlours. He was born a woman but identified as a man.

“It shows her privilege,” said Butler, of Johansson. “It’s bad form on her part to take another role away from a trans actor who could use the work, use the exposure [and] portray a trans person more authentically.”

‘This should go to a trans actor’

Johansson will also serve as the film’s producer. Trans actor Jesse Todd thinks the actress should have used that influence to say “this should go to a trans actor.”

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