In 2018, a biopic titled Rub & Tug about real-life transgender crime boss Dante “Tex” Gill was put in the works with Scarlett Johansson (Her) as the lead and Rupert Sanders (The Life) as director. Amid backlash from non-representative casting choices in trans stories, the movie will now be made into a series written by Our Lady J (Pose), according to Vulture.
In response to critique from the LGBTQ+ community, Johansson said in a statement to Bustle in 2018 that “they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Tambor’s trans depiction was in Transparent, Leto’s in Dallas Buyers Club, and Huffman’s in Transamerica. Johansson withdrew herself from the film to alleviate further comments. In 2018, Johansson was also cast as the lead role of Motoko Kusangi in Ghost in the Shell which some believed should have been given to an Asian lead to preserve fair Asian representation in the film. Sanders also directed that film.
Our Lady J, who has worked on series with trans representation like Pose and Transparent, will write the pilot script and has also advocated for the creative team to cast a trans actor for the lead, via Vulture.
Gill grew notorious for his illicit work as a mob boss that led him to get involved in illegal dealing of steroids through a cover of massage parlors. The anabolic steroid ring Gill created also extended itself into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ success as a franchise during the 1970s. Gill found solace in the queer communities by cross-dressing and pulling people further into his activities.
In a statement to Vulture, Our Lady J said, “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to write a gangster drama based on such a fascinating and diverse web of queer characters. The show is about the promise of reinvention, and the peril of losing oneself in the process. Tex Gill was out and proud in an era — the late 1970s — when living authentically came with the price of social ostracization, leaving him vulnerable to a life of crime and lawlessness. Having grown up in Pennsylvania myself, I’m also excited to delve deep into Pittsburgh’s underbelly as it unspools the story of Tex’s remarkable life — it’s also the story of a city’s struggle for rebirth and a proud community’s efforts to make its voice heard.”
Gill’s widow Cindy Bruno Gill will serve as a consultant to the series production which is headed by New Regency. There is not currently casting information for the series.