Scarlett Johansson Sparks Casting Controversy + More Industry News

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Scarlett Johansson responds to controversy over being cast as a trans man.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Scarlett Johansson (a cisgender performer) would be playing Dante “Tex” Gill (a real-life transgender man) in Rupert Sanders’ “Rub and Tug,” and people are not happy. Unfortunately, the two are not strangers to casting controversy: they previously worked together on “Ghost in the Shell,” which faced accusations of whitewashing. Though Johansson is certainly not the first cis actor to portray a trans character (Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman, to name a few), the casting reignited the argument that “with so many cis actors playing trans roles, there is not only less on-screen representation, but fewer opportunities for trans actors in the first place.” (Bustle)

Angela Ponce will make history as the first openly trans contestant at Miss Universe.
After winning Miss Universe Spain last week, 26-year-old Ponce will compete in the finals of the Miss Universe competition in the Philippines. The pageant reversed its ban on transgender contestants in 2012. (Express)

D.C. passes a tax to support the actor economy.
Actors’ Equity, the nation’s union for live theater actors and stage managers, is celebrating a local legislative win. In late June, members of the Council of District Columbia approved a new sales tax to subsidize the arts in D.C.; advocates estimate the new tax will infuse $30 million dollars per year into the D.C. arts scene. (Backstage)

“Child’s Play” reboot in the works at MGM.
The producers of the 2017 horror flick “It” have a new project in the works: David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are set to produce a reboot of the 1988 Chucky staple, which will begin production in September. Plot details haven’t been fully revealed yet, but it has been disclosed that this new movie will follow a gang of kids dealing with the evil doll. (Collider)

A plus-size superhero pic is on the horizon.
Sony Pictures has hired “American Gods” writer Maria Melnik to pen a live-action adaptation of the Valiant Comics story “Faith,” which will follow a “jubilant, comics-and-science-fiction loving geek who also happens to have telekinetic superpowers.” Though the character made her comic book debut in 1992, this will mark the first time a plus-size female heroine will get top billing in a big-budget superhero film. (Deadline)

Netflix to test “Ultra” viewing plan.
The streaming giant is set to run a test on a new “Ultra” plan that will see viewers pay $16.99/month (up from $13.99/month with the current Premium plan). (Variety)

Kevin Spacey hit even more assault allegations.
Spacey has been slammed with three more allegations of sexual assault, and Scotland Yard has opened six new investigations into claims against the disgraced actor. In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp alleged that when he was 14, Spacey sexually assaulted him. Since then, numerous other allegations of assault have been brought against Spacey. He was also fired from “House of Cards” and edited out of “All the Money in the World.” (The Guardian)