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Halle Berry says she’s preparing to play a transgender man in a new film, and we are so very, very tired

Nick Duffy July 6, 2020
Hollywood star Halle Berry

Hollywood star Halle Berry (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Halle Berry has suggested she is planning to play a transgender man in an upcoming film.

During an Instagram Live with hairstylist Christin Brown, the former X-Men star spoke about her plans for the potential future project.

Berry explained the film was pitched to her some time ago, but was put on the back-burner ahead of production on her directorial debut Bruised, in which she plays a disgraced MMA fighter.

She said: “I’m thinking of [playing] 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.”

Halle Berry says transgender film will ‘probably’ be her next project.

Halle Berry continued: “This project got pitched to me right when I was the brink of making Bruised, 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.”

She added: “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.

“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.”

Casting cis actors as transgender characters does not usually end well.

Berry’s comments come two years after Scarlett Johansson was strongly criticised for signing up to play the role of a trans man in the film Rub and Tug.

After pleas from the trans community, Johansson eventually opted to drop out of the project, which was ultimately cancelled despite calls to recast it with a transgender star.

There are fears Berry’s film project could end up the same way, after the clip was noted by The Geekiary.

Halle Berry attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia
Halle Berry attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)

One writer appealed to LGBT+ film stars to “reach out to Halle Berry” and discuss the project with her.

In the wake of the Rub and Tug debacle, a number of major Hollywood production companies backed a 2018 letter that called on 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.”

The problematic history of trans representation in Hollywood was recently chronicled in the Netflix documentary Disclosure.

More: Halle Berry, Trans, Transgender

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