Trans actors only for trans roles? An artist’s perspective.

631 TRANS ACTORLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — For the record, producers and directors of trans-themed feature films absolutely should convince their financial backers (executive producers) to cast trans actors to portray trans roles. However, when it comes to other people’s money, this convincing is not something easily done. I explain why in an earlier article here:

In this article however, I would like to make the case to freely choose actors from an artist’s (filmmaker) perspective, mine — someone who actually made a transgender-themed feature film.

When I began the project, first and foremost on my mind, I was going to use a trans actor. This was something I soon found out was easier said than done. It was not so much the trans aspect, rather the human shortcomings aspect. Actors are human, and they come with foibles that can create chaos for even the best set of plans.

Cis or trans actors can be late, or not show, or won’t take direction, or have attitude issues, and so on down the line to not being able to pull off a convincing performance (even though some were actually transgender). As the filmmaker, I learned to focus on bits that were working in my favor, and adjusted the script accordingly, including the expansion of roles for certain actors. Others got reduced roles or cut out of the film entirely.

Talk to people in the movie business and they’ll tell you that films are made in the editing suite — this was especially true with my film. All the bad bits were trashed and a film assembled from the few remaining pieces. In order to make a coherent story, I’d take an actor with only a few foibles and shoot pickup shots, and when combined with editing tricks, the illusion appeared as if was my plan all along.

I had no intention of casting myself in the film when I began pre-production. And as it turned out, some great performances by other trans actors (late to the project) made it to the final cut. If I make another film in the future, I will certainly try best to fill trans roles with trans people, but do I want to be burdened with the insistence of using a trans actor for trans roles? No.

Look for a link to my film (“Lexie Cannes”) below this article.

My previous article on this topic:


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Categories: "Lexie Cannes" (the movie) and filmmaking, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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7 replies

  1. Lexie Darling what do you thinck of actor in blackface playing black rapist in “Birth of a nation”? What to you thinck of “blackfaces” actors? What do you thinck of Fu Manchu , a white actors with a special make up to play chineese? Do you thinck any white cisgenred could play lady Chablis’s role in “the garden of evil and good”? Which cisgenred actor could have play your role?

  2. An elderly person couldn’t play the role of a child either. There would be no illusion. Steven Mackintosh could play my role.

  3. I believe an artist, (and yes, film makers are artists), should be free to use whatever tools and materials are needed for the best final piece.

  4. As a trans screen writer, currently developing a screenplay based on a trans character I have to agree. For me the MOST important thing is that the film gets produced and gets and audience. While I fully support the need to for more trans actors on screen, each production needs to be assessed individually when casting. Would, for example, the Danish Girl have been made or even possible if the lead character was played by a trans actor? We sometimes have to accept that stories that focus on trans characters both pre and post transition, it is more important to introduce the character as cis gendered and follow them to transition allowing the audience to take that journey with them. I personally might feel that it is wrong to ask a transitioned actor to represent a trans character that appears first in the story as a cis gendered.

    On the flip side I think it’s very important that when we produce stories that use trans characters, we should be advocating more for creating roles beyond the usual Sex Worker, (Tangerine) Criminal, (Silence of the lambs) or other type casting of trans identities that we typically see. The excellent ‘boy meets girl’ shows how we can create more positive characters in our stories where trans characters are portrayed as heroes or heroines rather than as victims of their own identity.

  5. Not entirely unrelated to the illusory world of make believe, another attempt, this one kindly represented by a social commentator I respect:
    “The FREQ Show: 00.04 The Bathroom Battlefield”
    Can’t wait for Thunder-Sargon-Gamer’s execration of how The Penis That Wrote The Bible guarantees all entertainment be sexy lest exclusive white males lose their fresh-all-over feeling (and everyone else gets dysentery).

  6. what do you prefer a trans director with non-trans actress-actor or a cis-director with trans stress-actor? (smile). The problem is when they explain us “they didn’t find a trans actress/actor for the role” its just discrimination.

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