Andy Serkis has defended Scarlett Johansson over the 'Rub & Tug' controversy.

There was an outcry earlier this year when the star was cast as a transgender man in drama movie 'Rub & Tug', leading to Scarlett pulling out of the movie but Serkis believes actors should be able to play any role they wish.

He told Variety: ''I absolutely disagree. I really, vehemently disagree.

''Actors should be able to play anything, and that's why I love performance capture technology. What should be the point is that whatever colour your skin is, whatever shape you are, whatever height you are, whatever your makeup is as an actor, you should have the ability to play anything.''

Andy - who admitted he had planned to go back to being a ''conventional actor'' after portraying Gollum through motion capture in 'The Lord of the Rings' franchise - said he wants equal opportunities in the movie industry but he believes in artistic freedom.

Speaking about when Peter Jackson asked him to play King Kong, he explained: ''I had thought 'Ok, I'll be going back into my career as a conventional actor.' But then Peter Jackson asked me to play King Kong, and that was a real epiphany moment -- sort of going, 'That, for me, is the end of typecasting.' Of course, equal representation and opportunity is what [the conversation] should be about, but we're in the art of the imagination.''

Meanwhile, Andy has directed 'Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle', a retelling of Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book' and he believes it is ''darker and emotionally more grounded'' than the original text.

He said: ''This version of the story hadn't been told. People say it's darker, but it's emotionally more grounded. It's complex. I grew up loving the animated original, it's a beautiful piece of work, but it didn't have that complex central journey. I always felt that Mowgli was left out of the story, and you enjoyed the antics and buffoonery and the songs and the star turns of the animals.''