I’m sure by the time you read this cooler heads will have prevailed, or Halle will have been so thoroughly trashed by social media and the trans community that she’s backed off the project BUT… let’s dive into this story….
During an Instagram Live with hairstylist Christin Brown, Halle Berry announced she was planning on playing a trans man in an upcoming film.
She said: “[The role is] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man. She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
And already right there we see SO MANY problems… Not the least of which is the misgendering of a trans man…
Halle continued: “This project got pitched to me right when I was the brink of making Bruised [in which she plays a disgraced MMA fighter], but I so was in the mindset of getting in the body to play that, and I don’t know how long I can play an MMA character, so I had to get that out… but this got pitched to me, and I thought, after I do this movie, that’s the character I’m going to play.”
“I want to experience that world, understand that world. I want to deep dive in that in the way I did Bruised. Who this woman was is so interesting to me, and that will probably be my next project, and that will require me cutting all of my hair off.”
She added: “That’s what I want to experience and understand and study and explore… it’s really important to me to tell stories, and that’s a woman, that’s a female story – it changes to a man, but I want to understand the why and how of that. I want to get into it.”
Of course, it’s 2020, and we know now that however well-intentioned an actor is, casting a CIS star as a transgender character is NOT the way to go (see: Scarlett Johansson).
In fact, a 2018 open letter to the Hollywood production companies called upon the industry to “use its power to improve the lives of trans people” by telling trans stories “authentically” with trans actors and creatives.
The accompanying TRANSform Hollywood guidebook for creatives cautions against casting major cisgender stars as trans people in projects.
It says: “The world is evolving, and today it is a mistake, especially if you are cross-sex casting (a cis man to play a trans woman, or a cis woman to play a trans man.) It simply isn’t cost effective to take this risk; recent projects which cast cis actors to play trans roles have felt the tide of public opinion turn against them and have taken a hit at the box office.”
So, I guess the ball is in Halle’s court…
(via Pink News; photo: Avalon)