Scarlett Johansson will be re-teaming with Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders on an upcoming drama titled Rub & Tug. The movie will be based on the provocative real-life story of Dante "Tex" Gill.
Set in the 1970s, Rub & Tug will document the eccentric goings on of Dante "Tex" Gill, a transgender man whose climb up the criminal ladder was hardly by the books. Working as a prostitute and massage parlor owner with a strictly male clientele, Gill eventually managed to infiltrate and overthrow the local mob, played a significant role in the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers by way of an anabolic steroid ring, found his footing in the LGBTQ community to help support his budding underground empire, and ultimately became an unlikely kingpin. Now, Johansson will re-team with Sanders to bring the story to the big screen.
According to Deadline (which uses Gill's deadname of "Jean Marie"), Rub & Tug's story will be in the vein of David O. Russell's American Hustle, focusing on Gill's unexpected rise, turbulent fall, and overall unusual legacy. The movie will cover explosive highlights in his life that include his defiance of both the mob and law enforcement, his lifestyle, and the various deaths that surrounded his line of work. Johansson will star in the lead role as Gill. And though no other actors are currently attached to the project, Gary Spinelli (American Made, Chaos Walking) penned the screenplay and Johansson, Jonathan Lia, Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe, and Joel Silver will produce.
Following this year's Avengers: Infinity War, Johansson's upcoming slate of movies in which she is set to star is as full as it is diverse. Along with Avengers 4 in 2019, she'll star in Noah Baumbach's upcoming untitled project alongside Laura Dern and Adam Driver, Taika Waititi's political comedy Jojo Rabbit, and her very own Black Widow standalone movie.
Outside of her more mainstream fare, Johansson is no stranger to taking on roles that break with convention. Between Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World, Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, and Spike Jonze's Her (in which she only supplies her voice), Johansson's creative range has certainly prepared her for the complexities she'll no doubt face as Gill in Rub & Tug. The real question, however, is whether or not Sanders is necessarily suited for this sort of movie, as Snow White & the Huntsman and Ghost in the Shell were not well received, nor especially similar to the tone and themes this movie appears to be exploring.