It looks like the story of Dante “Tex” Gill can still be told after Scarlett Johansson (rightfully) exited the project following public outcry. Rub & Tug is being re-envisioned as a TV series. The pilot will be written by writer-producer Our Lady J (Pose, Transparent).
The news about Scarlett Johansson being attached to star in Rub & Tug came out in 2018. People weren’t happy with the casting choice. While Johansson doubled down on her stance to portray Dante “Tex” Gill (a transgender man) in the film, she finally decided to back away from the role. Of course, a number of haters decided to come after those who didn’t want Johansson to play a transgender character on the big screen.
Apparently, as far as the haters were concerned, the transgender community should have felt glad about a big star helping such a project be made. The same problematic opinions recently resurfaced when Oscar-winner Halle Berry stepped away from playing a transgender character.
Why do such people think that stories featuring transgender characters can’t be told unless a cisgender actor is attached to star? How are they okay with sharing their problematic opinions online? Why don’t they support the transgender community to encourage Hollywood to do the right thing and provide transgender actors with acting opportunities? Anyway, that’s a completely different topic and yes, transphobia is involved.
While haters will continue to hate, you will happy to know that Rub & Tug is still alive. Along with the pilot being written by Our Lady J, New Regency (who won the script auction to tell Gill’s story) will also be casting a transgender actor in the lead role.
Yes, give talented transgender people the time to showcase their skills instead of creating another Oscar-bait project for cisgender actors! This is a continuing problem in Hollywood whenever actors from the LGBTQ+ community are involved. On a side note, Billy Eichner, while announcing Man in the Box (based on Paul Lynde‘s life), recently shared his opinions on how openly queer actors are taken off casting lists.
Our Lady J is clearly excited about being part of Rub & Tug.
“Tex’s life story is like no other, and the rich landscape of this unexplored moment in time has truly captured my imagination,” Our Lady J said in a statement, per Deadline. “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 show is about the promise of reinvention, and the peril of losing oneself in the process. Tex Gill was out and proud in an era—the late 1970s—when living authentically came with the price of social ostracization, leaving him vulnerable to a life of crime and lawlessness. Having grown up in Pennsylvania myself, I’m also excited to delve deep into Pittsburgh’s underbelly as it unspools the story of Tex’s remarkable life—it’s also the story of a city’s struggle for rebirth and a proud community’s efforts to make its voice heard.”
Furthermore, Cindy Bruno Gill, Gill’s widow, will be serving as a consultant on the series along with journalist and author Brendan Koerner. Cindy Bruno Gill and Koerner were also attached to the original version Rub & Tug.
“I am excited to be working with Our Lady J and New Regency to honor Tex’s memory by telling his story the way he would want to be remembered,” Bruno Gill said in a statement. “Tex was transgender at a time when being transgender meant facing great discrimination, yet he was fearless about being himself in a way that inspired those who knew him to be proud of who they were too. Our Lady J is the perfect person to give voice to Tex’s story, and I know he would be proud of the evolution of this project.”
As of now, no network or streaming service is attached. So, let’s see who decides to pick up Rub & Tug.
Feel free to share your opinions with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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