Anything, starring cis male as trans woman, to debut at LA Film Festival

Anything

Anything will make its debut on Saturday during the LA Film Festival this and many of us in the trans community are not pleased about the casting of a cis actor in a transgender role.

Written and directed by Timothy McNeil, the film stars John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham, and Micah Hauptman.

Here’s where there is a major problem: cisgender actor Matt Bomer is playing a transgender woman post-transition.  There are many transgender actresses in the United States.  Why is it so hard to cast one of us in a trans role?  It shouldn’t be that hard to cast a trans actress in a trans role.  More so, by casting a gay actor in the role of a trans woman, it only goes on to help the stereotype that trans women are men.  This isn’t fun and it’s not something any of us love to deal with on a daily basis.  I may not speak for others but I definitely speak for myself.

In the director’s statement provided in the press notes, McNeil says:

Finally, It is a movie written to answer those critics who resist or are fearful of difference. It is also a film meant to contribute (in it’s own way) to the dialogue and ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights in this country.

While this is good to acknowledge, it still doesn’t help some of the awful trans stereotypes that are out there by casting cis actors in trans roles.  If Bomer’s character had been pre-transition and coming out to friends/family as transgender, it’s one thing–but because his character is post-transition, there’s a serious problem.  No amount of makeup will have any effect on what happens to the face and body while on hormone replacement therapy.

According to the press notes, one of the associate producers, Kylene K. Steele, is a transgender woman and she “consulted on the film from development all the way through post production.”  In addition to that, she was a personal consultant to Matt Bomer from the pre-production process through the end of filming.

In addition, the producers say that they made this picture so they could “join the conversation and like all sensitive subject matter, along with opening a conduit for conversation, also comes some controversy.”  Well, they got controversy as soon as they cast a cis actor as a trans woman.  Did they not listen to Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor’s speech at the Emmy’s in 2016?

Please give transgender talent a chance.  Give them auditions.  Give them their story.  Do that.  And also, one more thing.  I would not be unhappy if I was the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.

Tambor gets it.  Why can’t Hollywood just get it right?

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

2 thoughts on “Anything, starring cis male as trans woman, to debut at LA Film Festival

  1. Sure, Tambor says, “Close the door after me!” like so many people do. Trans are supposed to be allies with gays. It’s LGBT, right? Who said the character in this movie was post-hormonal therapy? In the original play, the character was a transvestite. Anyway, it’s called Acting. Gay men can play straight men, too. Trans actresses surely want to play more than trans roles, don’t they? Actors are not limited to playing their real life selves in art! Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo are sensitive, culturally aware actors. They had significant trans input from a consultant and no one seems to be protesting her. Give the movie a chance!

    1. You would be surprised at the amount of gay people that throw trans folks under the bus. After coming out, gay people tend to have a harder time getting cast in straight roles than prior to coming out. It’s why so many folks stayed closeted back in the day.

      Many adults tend to be on hormone replacement therapy (which is for life, so post-therapy usually means one has detransitioned or dead) prior to socially transitioning so it is natural to assume that the character is on HRT.

      Thank you for letting me know about the play (and nobody uses TV anymore as the preferred term is cross-dresser) as I didn’t know that. It should have said something in the films credits that it had been based on something. The press notes only refer to Bomer’s character as being a transgender woman, nothing about being a cross-dresser. The large majority of the CD community are straight white men.

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