New Regency, a production company owned by 21st Century Fox, has outbid five other companies for the rights to Rub & Tug, which will tell the true story of Jean Marie Gill. Played by Scarlett Johansson, Gill became a crime kingpin during the 1970s by building an empire of illicit massage parlors, prostitution and a steroids ring tied to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ legacy. Despite confrontations from the mob, Gill prevailed in the male-dominated criminal landscape by cross-dressing as a man.
Awarded both “Dubious man of the Year” and “Dubious woman Of The Year” by the Pittsburgh Press, Gill became a target of both the mob and the federal government. While there were attacks on her business, such as an employee getting killed after opening a letter bomb, Gill was eventually arrested in 1984 for income tax fraud. However, her thirteen-year prison sentence was shortened by three years after she agreed to close down three parlors. According to Deadline, while Gill’s criminal history makes for an engaging movie script, the film’s emotional heart will be the romance she shared with her girlfriend Cynthia Bruno.
Gary Spinelli wrote Rub & Tug’s script, which will be produced by Johansson, Joel Silver, Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe, Gary Spinelli and Jonathan Lia. Rupert Sanders, who previously worked with Johansson on the 2017 Ghost in the Shell adaptation, will direct the film.