Scarlett Johansson will be teaming up once again with her Ghost In The Shell director Rupert Sanders for Rub & Tug, which New Regency has won the rights for. The film is described as being in the vein of American Hustle, and will star Johansson as Jean Marie Gill, who flourished in the male-centric industry of massage parlours and prostitution by taking on the physical identity of a man.
Gill was a larger-than-life person perfect to be explored within a film, as she took on the mob and became something of a crime kingpin in 1970s Pittsburgh, also helping run an anabolic steroids ring that helped fuel the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL dynasty. The film will also focus on her fiery romance with girlfriend Cynthia to form the emotional core of the story.
Gary Spinelli (American Made) has written the screenplay while Johansson will also produce alongside Joel Silver, Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe and Jonathan Lia.
While this might be a step away from Sanders’ usual visually bombastic films, it’s not a particularly unusual role for Johansson, who throughout her career has shown a heavy interest in playing characters in which personal identity is a heavy theme, and/or exist in professions outside the normal realms of society, such as in Under The Skin, Her and Lucy.
It’s possible that title eventually gets changed since right now it sounds at odds with the tone the film will be looking for. Until production on Rub & Tug gets underway, Johansson is currently filming Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit, while she will return to play Black Widow in Avengers 4, which opens May 3, 2019.