Scarlett Johansson joins Rupert Sanders’ ‘Rub & Tug’

Director Rupert Sanders and actress Scarlett Johansson pose as they arrive at a premiere of the film ‘Ghost in the Shell’ in Paris March 21 2017. — Reuters pic
Director Rupert Sanders and actress Scarlett Johansson pose as they arrive at a premiere of the film ‘Ghost in the Shell’ in Paris March 21 2017. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, July 3 — Inspired by a true story, Rub & Tug is to star Scarlett Johansson as an independent massage parlor owner who posed as a man to challenge the mafia’s business.

Having led Rupert Sanders’ sci-fi adaptation Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett Johansson is teaming up with the director again for his next project, Rub & Tug.

It’s based on the life of Jean Marie Gill, a crime boss also known as Dante “Tex” Gill, the 1970s owner and operator of several massage parlors in an otherwise mafia-controlled Pittsburgh industry.

She also supplied the local NFL team with anabolic steroids, but as Deadline reports, “it is Jean’s fiery romance with her girlfriend Cynthia that truly defines her and forms the emotional core of the story”; the official spin is that the project is comparable to 2013’s triple Golden Globe winner American Hustle.

With production intended to begin in February 2019, Rub & Tug would be Sanders’ third feature, following Snow White and the Huntsman and Ghost in the Shell.

Though neither were particularly popular at review, Snow White and the Huntsman made US$396 million (RM1.6 billion) at the worldwide box office on a budget of US$170 million, while his adaptation of Ghost in the Shell took US$169 million on US$110 million.

Written by Gary Spinelli of 2017 Tom Cruise Iran-Contra action movie American Made, 2012 Dolph Lundgren and Sean Faris thriller Stash House, and 2019’s Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley dystopian double-header Chaos Walking, Rub & Tug has a more modest budget than Sanders’ previous movies, reported at US$30 million.

Known for playing the character Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Scarlett Johansson voiced Kaa and Ash in 2016’s The Jungle Book” and Sing respectively, Nutmeg in 2018’s Isle of Dogs and played the lead character in 2014 action movie Lucy.

As well as 2019’s Marvel’s Avengers movie, she has a Black Widow film in development, plus Noah Baumbach’s untitled November 2018 comedy and 1940s war drama Jojo Rabbit from the director of Thor: Ragnarok. — AFP-Relaxnews

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