3 Generations (originally titled About Ray) is a film by Gaby Dellal that stars Elle Fanning as Ray. He’s a young transgender teen living in New York City who struggles to make his family understand and support his decision to begin transitioning medically. Naomi Watts plays Ray’s mother and Susan Sarandon, plays his lesbian grandmother.
The movie had been living in limbo for over a year after The Weinstein Company pulled the project just days before its original release date. It will now be released on May 5th.
Before 3 Generations even gets released it’s been drawing criticism from the LGBTQ community for casting a cis actor in a trans role. Dellal was also criticized for the way she handled the trans character in press for the film in 2015. She used female pronouns when referring to Fanning’s character, Ray. Dellal told BuzzFeed News,
“My initial reaction is — I totally understand and I totally understand where the trans community is coming from. In my situation — I guess I was in a tricky situation because I needed to find an actor who was experienced enough to take on this role, who hadn’t transitioned yet, who was a trans man or trans boy. That’s quite a tall order. Unfortunately, I was unable to fill that role. When someone is struggling for a voice, they need everyone to support them. And the best thing we can do is do things like cast [trans actors] and give them a voice. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that.”
Dellal explained that the film is about
“exploring the changes within our culture and the way families today deal with that changing culture….
The story came from me, as a parent, coming up against several challenges in my own family — which weren’t about a trans kid necessarily — but were just specific to our family,’ she said. ‘The realization that in the end, as a parent, I look to my child to teach and educate me.”
Dellal was inspired to explore a trans storyline after she ran into a father whose child just came out as transgender.
“I watched them go through the various moments in their transition as a family, from afar.”
For the new release date, the original film has been slightly recut.
“We changed the music and we made it a little bit more raw. We did temper the humor a little bit.
I spent a lot of time at the LGBT center in New York, and I spent a lot of time with individuals kids I met through my children’s friends who were transitioning.”
Dellal’s assistant on set was a young trans man who had not yet gone through medical transition, much like the main character of the film.
A statement from GLAAD described the group’s involvement in the film:
“The director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program provided a few notes on the script the week they began shooting. Another transgender GLAAD staff member did a brief training on-set the day filming began to give the cast and crew a broad overview of transgender terminology and issues. After filming finished, GLAAD also sat down with select cast members, the director and producers to review best practices for speaking to the public about families with transgender children and the experiences that transgender youth face.”
“I couldn’t be a bigger advocate and I couldn’t be more moved by the plight of so many kids and adults. I hope that we can have a social impact with this film.
So many people are segregated, sitting at home talking to their computer screens thinking nobody understands their situation. Maybe a trans kid will walk away thinking, ‘My mom might see this. I can’t speak to her, but maybe my mom will see it.'”
Here’s the trailer. Watch.