NEW YORK — Scarlett Johansson has pulled out of the film "Rub & Tug" after her plans to portray a transgender man prompted a backlash.

In a statement to Out.com on Friday, Johansson says she's withdrawing from the project "in light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting." Last week, Johansson said she would star as Pittsburgh 1970s and '80s prostitution ring leader Dante "Tex" Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man.

When transgender actors and advocates questioned the casting, Johansson initially responded with a statement that criticism "can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman's reps." All are actors who won acclaim for playing transgender characters.

"Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive," said Johansson.

"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, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film," the actress added.

Charges filed in

Gomez hacking case

LOS ANGELES — A woman has been charged with 11 felonies stemming from the hacking of the email of Selena Gomez and one of the singer's associates.

Los Angeles County prosecutors said Friday that 21-year-old Susan Antrach, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, has been charged with five identity-theft counts, five fraud counts and one count of accessing and using data without permission. The charges are felonies that collectively could get her nearly 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege Antrach accessed the accounts of the 25-year-old Gomez and the unnamed associate several times in 2015 and 2016. Antrach has not entered a plea.

 

'Downton' film

to shoot soon

NEW YORK — Three years after going off the air, "Downton Abbey" is coming back as a movie.

Focus Features said Friday that it will this summer begin production on a "Downton" film that will reunite the Crawley family on the big screen. The long-rumored film adaptation is likely to be released sometime next year. The primary cast members are all set to return. Over six seasons, "Downton Abbey" became a global TV hit.