Scarlett Johansson thinks she should be "allowed to play any person".

The 34-year-old actress came under fire for accepting the role of a transgender man in the upcoming movie Rub & Tug - a role which she exited after public outrage - but she has slammed the "restriction" of art.

She told As If magazine: "You know, as an actor, I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job. I feel like it's a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions. I think society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do."

Scarlett pulled out of the transgender role last July after she was heavily criticised by the LGBT community, who said it should have gone to a transgender actor instead.


She said: "I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement. While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante's story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person. I am thankful that this casting debate ... has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film."

The film is based on the life of Dante 'Tex' Gill, a notorious figure in the Pittsburgh underworld in the late 70s and early 80s, who masqueraded as a man in order to run a massage parlour and prostitution business. She also ran an anabolic steroids ring for NFL team the Pittsburgh Steelers and used her connections in the gay community to deceive the mob until she was eventually convicted of tax evasion in 1984 and spent seven years in prison.