Title
1

Trans* characters being played by cisgender people, nbd?

This past weekend, Jeffrey Tambor won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for playing a transgender woman in Amazon’s show Transparent. Also, Eddie Redmayne will be playing a transgender woman in The Danish Girl in an upcoming film that looks like it’s an Oscar vehicle. And think of how well Dallas Buyers Club did for Jared Leto. It seems that these roles are often portrayed in interviews and articles as "complex challenges" for cisgender actors to take on. Is this problematic? Should we be arguing for more trans* actors to play their own roles, or is it okay to continue casting cisgender actors?

  • If you want to add more references to this list, there's also been controversy surrounding Elle Fanning playing a transgender boy in "About Ray," along with the director of the movie spreading inaccurate information about trans* people with his statements. – pixiemina 5 years ago
    0
  • Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't heard of About Ray. Reading about it now. – southdakoda 5 years ago
    0
  • Have a look at John Cameron Mitchell with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, that might help. Also think about Laverne Cox in Orange is the New Black who became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category and the first to be nominated for an Emmy Award since composer/musician Angela Morley in 1990. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 5 years ago
    0
  • Wasn't aware of Angela Morley's work, either. Thanks for the ideas! It also might be interesting to explore how Laverne Cox's twin brother plays her in the flashbacks before she came out. I wonder if there are trans* actors who have had to play themselves in flashbacks in other films. Also, now I'm thinking about how trans female actress Erika Ervin actually auditioned as a male for the trans female role she had in AHS: Freakshow--very Victor/Victoria. I'm realizing there's so much to explore her, and many different angles one could take! – southdakoda 5 years ago
    0
  • Not sure if it quite fits, but Cillian Murphy has portrayed a nb character in the film Peacock, as well as portraying a trans woman in Breakfast on Pluto. I suspect he was cast because of his "feminine" features, but it's still exclusionary and highly problematic regardless. I adore this topic! I was just discussing it wrt The Danish Girl with my gender-nonconforming pal yesterday. – marlaina 5 years ago
    1
  • I think something that should also be taken into account when talking about movies with trans characters is the director. They speak the loudest when it comes to why they make the decision to cast cis actors. I mean Gaby Dellal is very clearly transphobic and her reason for casting a cis girl is because the part 'is a girl and she is a girl'. The directors choices are very important to this conversation – netafeta 5 years ago
    0
  • Jamie Clayton on Sense8 might be worth looking into as well. – ctaylorhen 5 years ago
    0

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account