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Halle Berry has pulled out of a film centering a transgender man after receiving backlash online for putting herself forward for the main role.
The 53-year-old actor spoke about the role during an Instagram live interview on Friday, July 3, and described the transgender role excitedly as her ‘next project’.
She repeatedly misgendered the character – a trans man – and spoke of wanting to explore ‘that world’ in reference to the trans experience. While Berry wasn’t yet cast for the role or film, she is no longer going to put herself forward for it after listening to the feedback online.
You can watch Berry discuss the role here:
In the interview with Christin Brown, Berry said:
[It’s] 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.
She added that she wanted to ‘deep dive’ into ‘that world’.
Berry then received backlash for repeatedly misgendering the character during the interview, and was advised to further educate herself on the transgender community before considering such a role.
One account to call her out was that of Disclosure Documentary, a Netflix film about the history of transgender misrepresentation in Hollywood, produced by Orange Is the New Black star, Laverne Cox.
The tweet read:
Hi @halleberry, we heard you’re considering playing a trans man in your next project. We ask that you please watch @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix first to understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen. #DisclosureNetflix
Following the backlash she received, Berry shared a statement shared on Twitter today, July 7.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I’d like to apologize for those remarks. As a cisgender woman, I now understand that I should not have considered this role, and that the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.
I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake. I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.
The Disclosure Documentary account has since thanked Berry for ‘listening and learning’, adding that they hope Berry will use the documentary as ‘one of many educational tools you and others can rely to inspire and strengthen allyship’.
Berry isn’t the first cisgender actor to consider a transgender role. In 2018, Scarlett Johanseen received backlash for being cast as a transgender role in the film Rub and Tug, a role she later stepped down from.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.
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