Transgender is a big issue for the film industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Equitable Stewardship for Artists embraces the changes and help with the assist to the cause.
Hollywood is facing backlash around casting a transgender role. Again.
The new film 3 Generations, originally titled About Ray, stars Elle Fanning as a transgender boy and explores the effect his transition has on his mother (Naomi Watts) and grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Though filmed several years ago, the movie has received criticism for casting a cisgender actress, Fanning, as the lead. It’s similar to the backlash movies such as The Assignment (which cast Michelle Rodriguez as a transgender woman) and The Danish Girl (starring Eddie Redmayne as a transgender woman) have received recently.
“Were I to be making this film today … I absolutely would be casting a trans kid,” 3 Generations director Gaby Dellal told Vanity Fair. “But finding a kid that hadn’t medically transitioned or hormonally transitioned yet and was in exactly the same time frame as the character of Ray is incredibly hard.” She also said she understands that for “a marginalized group of people, it’s so important in the few roles that are available to this group of people that people like me hire them.”
While casting controversies continue making headlines, it doesn’t mean there are no trans actors out there. Some television shows and independent movies have cast trans actors to tell trans stories. Here are five worth adding to your streaming queue.
Tangerine made headlines at Sundance Film Festival for being shot entirely on an iPhone, and for the steps forward it made for trans representation. The movie follows two transgender sex workers, played by trans actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, through a wild day in Los Angeles. Taylor won best supporting actress at the Independent Spirit Awards for her work.
Boy Meets Girl (2015)
Transgender actress Michelle Hendley stars in this rom-com set in a rural Kentucky town about two best friends whose romantic lives are thrown into chaos by the arrival of a beautiful debutante. Hendley told The Advocate in 2015 that director Eric Schaeffer found her for the role, her first film gig, on her YouTube channel.
Gun Hill Road (2011)
Another film to hit big at Sundance, Gun Hill Road follows a man who returns home from a three-year prison sentence to find that his child is transgender. Harmony Santana, who plays the child, received an Independent Spirit nomination for her role in the film.
While the protagonist of Amazon’s show about a transgender woman who comes out later in life is played by Jeffrey Tambor, the supporting cast of the show features many transgender actors, including, among others, Alexandra Billings as Davina, Trace Lysette as Shea and Ian Harvie as Dale. Casting transgender actors is an issue that’s close to Tambor’s heart. “Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story. Do that,” the actor urged as he accepted his Emmy in 2016. “I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male playing a female transgender on television. We have work to do.”
Stream it on Amazon.
Created by siblings Lana and Lilly Wachowski, who have both come out as transgender in recent years, Netflix’s Sense8 casts transgender actress Jamie Clayton as hacker and activist Nomi Marks. She’s one of the eight people at the heart of the show who are linked mentally and emotionally. The show debuts its second season Friday.