A US TV host has delivered the perfect response to Scarlett Johansson's controversial comments on casting and diversity in Hollywood.

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah addressed Johansson's comments in his episode this week, explaining what the actress was missing in her take on representation.

Johansson came under fire this week for an interview with As If magazine in which she said: "As an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because that's my job and the requirements of my job."

The comments were in relation to Johansson's controversial whitewashed role in Ghost in the Shell, and the news that she would be playing a trans man in Rub & Tug (which she later dropped out of due to the backlash).

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Noah criticised Johansson's view that she should be able to play "anybody".

"I understand why you might want to get defensive as a person," he said. "I can even understand why some white people might feel like they're under attack in and around these conversations.

"But I think what's often lost is when Scarlett goes, 'I should be allowed to play an animal or a tree or anything,' and it's like, yes, but that's exactly what people are saying: For so long, Hollywood and the people who define storytelling in America have defined it as stories to be told for and by white people. And so the roles that have generally been reserved for black people have been the stereotype of criminal, maid, slave. That's pretty much it."

Noah added that Johansson failed to acknowledge she had the "luxury" to play anyone, while actors of colour are often forced into playing stereotypes.

Johansson clarified her comments earlier this week, saying: "The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art. I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness."