—Glenn Close, speaking during an interview with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their HFPA In Conversation podcast.
Close was discussing the recent controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson being cast as a transgender male in upcoming film Rub & Tug.
Johansson’s casting drew intense criticism, as did her initial response saying anyone who had a problem with her casting could “be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” (All three cisgender actors have played transgender characters.)
Johansson later withdrew from the project and issued a longer statement calling her original response “insensitive.”
While Close said that transgender actors should be more widely considered by directors, she also acknowledged that directors “should have the opportunity to cast the best person.”
“Acting is a craft,” she said. “I think personally that anyone should be able to play anyone. But I do understand the frustration.”
Close gained one of her six Academy Award nominations for her 2011 role in Albert Nobbs, where she played the titular role of a woman born in the 1800s who lived as a man and worked as a butler.
She also weighed in on the firing of James Gunn, director of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, who was ousted by Disney after a right-wing blogger shared controversial tweets written several years ago by Gunn joking about a number of sensitive topics.
“I felt sad,” Close, who starred in the first film, said. “I felt sad certainly for James and I felt sad for the whole situation. I felt sad that we’re in a society where on social media people say things that they might not say in person. I think that’s a real danger. If you’re saying something on social media that you can’t say to somebody face to face then you should think about what you’re saying on social media.
“When I worked with him it was the first time I had been in a movie like that and he was a really good director and he had a great atmosphere on set.”
Listen to Close’s full interview below: