Scarlett Johansson doubles down on Woody Allen defense: ‘He’s a friend of mine’

Scarlett Johansson knows that some of her recent comments — whether it’s defending Woody Allen or clapping back at critics who didn’t want her playing a transgender character — have been controversial, but she won’t be tempering her opinions.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, she doubled down on her defense of “friend” Allen, but also admit that she didn’t handle the Rub & Tug situation well.

“I’m not a politician, and I can’t lie about the way I feel about things,” Johansson told the magazine. “I don’t have that. It’s just not a part of my personality. I don’t want to have to edit myself, or temper what I think or say. I can’t live that way. It’s just not me. And also I think that when you have that kind of integrity, it’s going to probably rub people, some people, the wrong way. And that’s kind of par for the course, I guess.”

Johansson said she stood by her previous comments about Allen, whom she said she would work with again and believes amid his denial of resurfaced allegations of child molestation by his daughter Dylan Farrow. (Farrow slammed Johansson for her remarks.)

“Even though there’s moments where I feel maybe more vulnerable because I’ve spoken my own opinion about something, my own truth and experience about it — and I know that it might be picked apart in some way, people might have a visceral reaction to it — I think it’s dangerous to temper how you represent yourself, because you’re afraid of that kind of response,” she said. “That, to me, doesn’t seem very progressive at all. That seems scary.”

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Woody Allen (L) and Soon-Yi Previn arrive for the premiere of Allen's movie, "Everyone Says I Love You," in New York January 9. The movie is the first musical written and directed by Allen. It was filmed in New York, Paris, and Venice. PREMIERE ALLEN
U.S. actor and filmaker Woody Allen kisses Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former lover Mia Farrow, in a gondola in Venice's Grand Canal December 24. Allen 62, and Previn, 27, were married in a secret civil ceremony December 23, officiated by Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari, at the imposing Palazzo Cavalli. ITALY ALLEN
Actor and director Woody Allen (R) sits next to his new wife Soon-Yi at the New York Knicks versus Orlando Magic basketball game, January 3 in Madison Square Garden. The couple were married last week in Venice. ALLEN
U.S. actor and director Woody Allen (L) and Soon-Yi Previn watch the final [between Pete Sampras and Marat Safin] at the U.S. Open in New York September 10, 2000.
U.S. director Woody Allen and his wife Soon Yi arrive at the Venice Movie Palace August 27, 2003. Allen film 'Anything Else' is set to kick off the 60th annual Venice Film Festival. REUTERS/Tony Gentile PP03080098 TG
Comic and film director Woody Allen and his wife, Soon Yi Previn (obscured-left) and children watch the Cleveland Cavaliers play the New York Knicks in an NBA game in New York's Madison Square Garden, January 28, 2005. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine RFS
U.S. director Woody Allen (L) arrives with his wife Soon Yi Previn during red carpet arrivals for the out of competition screening of his film "Match Point" at the 58th Cannes Film Festival May 12, 2005.
Director Woody Allen (L) and his wife Soon-Yi Previn arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "Match Point" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles December 8, 2005. The movie tells the story of former tennis pro Chris who falls for Nola who happens to be dating one of Chris' friends. The movie opens in Los Angeles and New York on December 28. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
U.S. director Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi arrives at the Cinema Palace in Venice September 2, 2007. Allen's movie "Cassandra's Dream" is being shown at the Venice Film Festival. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi ( ITALY)
U.S. director Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi arrive for the screening of his film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (FRANCE)
Director Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi pose at the premiere of the film "Whatever Works" in Paris June 19, 2009. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes (FRANCE ENTERTAINMENT)
Director Woody Allen (L) and his wife Soon-Yi (R) leave after the screening of the film "You will meet a tall dark stranger" at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2010. REUTERS/Yves Herman (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
U.S. film director Woody Allen poses with his wife Soon-Yi Previn during a photocall before a screening of his latest film "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" in Aviles, northern Spain, August 24, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer (SPAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Director of the movie and cast member Woody Allen (L) and his wife Soon-Yi Previn pose at the premiere of "To Rome with Love" during the opening night of the Los Angeles Film Festival at the Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles, California June 14, 2012. The movie opens limitedly in the U.S. on June 22. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
U.S. director Woody Allen and his wife Soon Yi Previn pose during the premiere of his film "To Rome with Love" in Rome April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (ITALY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Director Woody Allen arrives with his wife Soon-Yi Previn for the premiere of his film "Magic in the Moonlight" in New York July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Director Woody Allen (L) and his wife Soon-Yi Previn arrive on the red carpet for the screening of the film "Irrational Man" out of competition at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Director Woody Allen and his wifre Soon-Yi Previn pose on the red carpet as they arrive for the opening ceremony and the screening of the film "Cafe Society" out of competition during the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, May 11, 2016.FranceREUTERS/Eric Gaillard
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 27: Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen attend The Art Show Gala Preview at Park Avenue Armory on February 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen attend the Youth America Grand Prix Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Rebecca Smeyne/Getty Images)
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When asked if she felt any of the criticism of her was legitimate, Johansson replied, “I don’t know — I feel the way I feel about it. It’s my experience. I don’t know any more than any other person knows. I only have a close proximity with Woody… he’s a friend of mine. But I have no other insight other than my relationship with him.”

And when pointed out by the interviewer that saying that also says that she doesn’t believe a woman who spoke out, Johansson replied, “Yeah. I do understand how that is triggering for some people. But just because I believe my friend does not mean that I don’t support women, believe women. I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. You can’t have this blanket statement — I don’t believe that. But that’s my personal belief. That’s how I feel.”

At that point, Johansson — who worked with Allen in Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) — said she wanted to stop discussing the controversial director. She said if she discusses it further, it will be privately with the people involved. Otherwise, “I don’t think that’s productive… it kind of feeds that sort of dragon.”

And while the Jojo Rabbit actress dug her heels in with Allen, she went on to admit that she got the Rub & Tug situation wrong. In July, she was cast as a transgender man, Dante “Tex” Gill, in a film about his life in the world of massage parlors. When the casting was criticized, her spokesperson said, “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” And Johansson said, “I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal.” She withdrew from the film soon after. (This followed another controversy in 2017 when Johansson starred in Ghost in the Shell, a sci-fi film based on a popular Japanese manga and anime.)

“In hindsight, I mishandled that situation,” Johansson said of the Rupert Sanders project. “I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it. I wasn’t totally aware of how the trans community felt about those three actors playing — and how they felt in general about cis actors playing — transgender people. I wasn’t aware of that conversation —I was uneducated. So I learned a lot through that process. I misjudged that…. It was a hard time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”

When the writer pointed out that her comments about being tone-deaf could be connected back by readers to her thoughts on Allen, she said, “Yes, they will. It feels like a snake eating its tail, doesn’t it?”

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