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I'm not well-versed enough in these issues to speak with authority, but I think part of the problem some people have, aside from the fact that it's taking roles away from trans actors, is that by continually casting men to play trans women it's reinforcing the harmful sterotype that trans women aren't "real women" but men in drag.

 

The thing is, from a business perspective I can sort of understand why it's hard to get a trans actor cast as the lead in a high-profile project like this, but if you are going to cast a cis actor, why not a woman? Even if it's a movie about "the journey" I don't see how a woman playing the pre-transition part of the character is any different from a man playing the post-transition, yet it rarely seems to happen that way.

Edited by AshleyN

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So apparently there is some anger in the trans community over the casting of Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe.  The community wants a trans actor.  Which seems just as problematic to me, since the movie is about Lili's transition, not just her life post-transition.

Maybe it is just me but I don't get why this is an issue either way. I mean isn't acting all about pretending to be someone that you are not?

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I don't have any skin in the game about the casting, but I don't understand how casting a trans actor to portray a trans character is just as problematic as Eddie Redmayne.  I can understand why the trans community would complain about it.         

 

The trans mtf actress would have to be made up to look like a man, it's just as non-gender matching as is a male actor portraying a transitioned mtf woman.

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The trans mtf actress would have to be made up to look like a man, it's just as non-gender matching as is a male actor portraying a transitioned mtf woman.

I just don't get where you would draw the line since just about everyone in movies (unless that person is starring in a biopic about themselves) is going to be playing someone they are not.

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The trans mtf actress would have to be made up to look like a man, it's just as non-gender matching as is a male actor portraying a transitioned mtf woman.

 

Honestly, they did that with Candis Kane on Nip/Tuck, where she played an MTF who decides to become a man again, and she was not very convincing.

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I'm not well-versed enough in these issues to speak with authority, but I think part of the problem some people have, aside from the fact that it's taking roles away from trans actors, is that by continually casting men to play trans women it's reinforcing the harmful sterotype that trans women aren't "real women" but men in drag.

The thing is, from a business perspective I can sort of understand why it's hard to get a trans actor cast as the lead in a high-profile project like this, but if you are going to cast a cis actor, why not a woman? Even if it's a movie about "the journey" I don't see how a woman playing the pre-transition part of the character is any different from a man playing the post-transition, yet it rarely seems to happen that way.

I want to say that at one point, years ago, The Danish Girl was supposed to star Nicole Kidman and...Gwyneth, as the wife?

Acting is playing pretend, but some in the trans community view Jared Leto and Redmayne playing these roles as tantamount to blackface. Just putting the POV out there...

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Maybe it is just me but I don't get why this is an issue either way. I mean isn't acting all about pretending to be someone that you are not?

It has a lot to with representation and opportunities I think. There are tons of roles out there for cis men, and very, very few for trans women (or trans actors in general). So I can see why they'd be upset about being excluded from films telling their own stories. Instead they get to watch some dude sweep in and get the part, and have a million articles written about how BRAVE they are while racking up awards and acclaim. It kind of feels like their stories are being exploited for the benefit of others who already have a lot of built in advantages over them.

Edited by AshleyN
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It has a lot to with representation and opportunities I think. There are tons of roles out there for cis men, and very, very few for trans women (or trans actors in general). So I can see why they'd be upset about being excluded from films telling their own stories. Instead they get to watch some dude sweep in and get the part, and have a million articles written about how BRAVE they are while racking up awards and acclaim. It kind of feels like their stories are being exploited for the benefit of others who already have a lot of built in advantages over them.

I kind of get that but then where do you draw the line. How many actors have played people with illnesses or disabilities when they do not have those conditions? I mean as far as I know Bradley Cooper is not bipolar, Tom Hanks does not have a developmental disability, Dustin Hoffman is not Autistic and Matthew Mcconaughey does not have AIDS. For the movies where they played those roles should producers have hired actors with those conditions? What about just general life experiences, how many actors play roles of doctors/soldiers or veterans/ cops who do not have those experiences? To me acting is all about pretending to be someone you not so any kind of controversy seems weird to me.

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I'm just glad that Lee Pace was able to sneak in with A Soldier's Girl a decade ago when trans activists weren't jumping over any cisgender person playing a trans person. You cannot tell me that wasn't an incredible sensitive portrayal, done with utter class, and with the complete blessing of Calpernia Addams.

 

Of course, back then, it was the whole "straight guy plays gay" controversy.

Edited by methodwriter85
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Acting is playing pretend, but some in the trans community view Jared Leto and Redmayne playing these roles as tantamount to blackface. Just putting the POV out there...

 

Look at it this way - they could have cast Jennifer Lawrence.

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It's a horrible muddle because while theoretically any good actor should play a wide variety of roles, HW is biased and perceptions do play a role on who gets casts.  Even in this day and age double standards are glaring, for example  there still  seems to be resistance to cast an out actor in a straight romantic lead, whereas a perceived straight actor playing a gay character is "just acting".

 

For a trans characters there are several hurdles, (1) there are not name trans actors out there to take on big movie projects  (2) competition with name or straight  actors vying  for these  roles because of the "award" bait of such parts (3) just the reluctance of putting a trans actor to head a project.

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For a trans characters there are several hurdles, (1) there are not name trans actors out there to take on big movie projects

The sad thing is, though, there have been a number of unknowns who've been cast in movies who end up taking the movie industry by storm and even get Oscar nominations.  Sure, many of them don't go much farther than that one great movie, but there's always a possibility of them going far, if they were just given the chance. 

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It's a horrible muddle because while theoretically any good actor should play a wide variety of roles, HW is biased and perceptions do play a role on who gets casts.  Even in this day and age double standards are glaring, for example  there still  seems to be resistance to cast an out actor in a straight romantic lead, whereas a perceived straight actor playing a gay character is "just acting".

 

I don't know, Rupert Everett came out way back in 1989, and his career wasn't torpedoed at all. Maybe he's the exception rather than the rule, but he seems like a prretty notable exception.

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I don't know, Rupert Everett came out way back in 1989, and his career wasn't torpedoed at all. Maybe he's the exception rather than the rule, but he seems like a prretty notable exception.

 

Isn't he always complaining about what happened to his career after coming out?

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I've read mixed things about Rupert Everett including some of which that implies he can be a bit of a jerk which is why he doesn't always get as many roles as he likes. IMHO he has limited range; he can be funny, but I've never been impressed with his dramatic turns. I think that's necessary when you compete with classically trained actors in the UK.

 

ETA: Ian McKellan and Derek Jakobi came out (or it was an open secret in the UK acting circles) for a lot longer and their careers didn't seem to suffer. However, they may not have sought Hollywood roles the way Everett did.

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The real question is, if a trans actor should be cast as Lili Elbe, should Eddie Redmayne give that Oscar back? Because he doesn't have Lou Gehrig's Disease, which put Stephen Hawking into a wheelchair, so how could he possibly accurately portray that experience? I don't think being transgender is a disease by any means, but I also don't think you can have it both ways.

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Isn't he always complaining about what happened to his career after coming out?

 

I thought it was the bad plastic surgery that killed his career.  I don't mean that in a catty way, it kind of froze his face.  Everett had a large role in My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) and was in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Shrek 2 & 3 (2004, 2007) and the wildly underrated Stardust (2007), so I don't know that coming out was a big issue.

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I kind of get that but then where do you draw the line. How many actors have played people with illnesses or disabilities when they do not have those conditions? I mean as far as I know Bradley Cooper is not bipolar, Tom Hanks does not have a developmental disability, Dustin Hoffman is not Autistic and Matthew Mcconaughey does not have AIDS. For the movies where they played those roles should producers have hired actors with those conditions? What about just general life experiences, how many actors play roles of doctors/soldiers or veterans/ cops who do not have those experiences? To me acting is all about pretending to be someone you not so any kind of controversy seems weird to me.

 

The real question is, if a trans actor should be cast as Lili Elbe, should Eddie Redmayne give that Oscar back? Because he doesn't have Lou Gehrig's Disease, which put Stephen Hawking into a wheelchair, so how could he possibly accurately portray that experience? I don't think being transgender is a disease by any means, but I also don't think you can have it both ways.

 

The slippery slope is hardly ever as perilous as envisioned by worst-case hypothetical scenarios, and I don't think not bothering to start is the best answer to the question of "Where does it end?" Hollywood already has shifted its casting practices throughout its history in a number of areas. Before there were movies, men played female roles on stage. Blackface and yellowface were once engaged in without a second thought, but time marches on and practices change. 

 

No, you don't need doctors to play characters who are doctors, but with an athlete character, for example, it can take viewers out of the story if the actor displays poor athletic form or has an unlikely body type for the role. Disney figured the target audience of the High School Musical movies probably didn't care that Zac Efron wasn't believable as a heavily recruited basketball player, but for a movie hoping to appeal to a more sports-savvy audience, the director probably would try to make the athletic scenes reasonably plausible and fill the minor/background players with people with significant athletic experience.

 

For musicals, they used to get the biggest stars they could find and not publicize it too much about their voices being dubbed. This fell out of favor and for the last decade or so, the push has been to get famous actors with singing ability. Musical purists aren't always fans, because for them, the actors don't measure up vocally. Yet movie stars can draw attention and interest on a much larger, global scale than Broadway stars, though it can undercut the film itself if the singing isn't up to par. Even with musical biopics, some will have the stars lip sync while others have cast an actor who sings, but that can annoy fans of the musician. The Live! TV musicals seem to take the "surround a stage neophyte with Broadway veterans" approach. Is there one perfect answer for how to cast musicals, with respect to singing ability vs. star power, now that the days of anonymous dubbing are past? Probably not, but moving on from the old status quo isn't always so horrible.

 

During an Oscar discussion on Grantland, one of the participants commented that the bloodless pallor of the English actor starring in Unbroken made it hard for him to suspend his disbelief and buy Jack O'Connell as the son of Italian immigrants who grew up facing scorn and prejudice on sight, for his heritage. I don't think the actors have to have the exact parentage/background of the character they are playing, but I find the way of thinking that says any British/American actor with a dye job and a put-on accent (as necessary) is perfectly believable as any variation of European, a bit outdated and not particularly accurate. That's not even getting into the lazy thinking that permeates Hollywood when it comes to casting other minorities. 

 

There will always be people who will just roll with whatever is presented to them. During a TV discussion I was involved in last year, one poster posited that in all of his/her viewing, he/she never noticed an actor being bad, and therefore came to the conclusion that "bad acting", as a concept, didn't really exist. People who criticized certain stars as "bad actors" were simply letting their dislike of a character spill over into real life and blaming the actor for it. Many others came along very quickly to shut down that notion, basically saying that, even though it's subjective, and everyone won't always agree on who is or isn't talented, bad acting is definitely a thing, even if you aren't picky enough to care. Matt Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, used to make it a rule that if an actor hadn't smoked in real life, their character on the show wouldn't smoke either, because he'd been distracted too many times by watching nonsmokers trying to light up. A good number of viewers, especially those who'd never smoked, probably wouldn't have noticed the difference, and there were probably some nonsmoking actors who could've faked it well enough. But he would and he was in charge, so he got to make that call.

 

Yes, some movie watchers and actors believe it should be all about is getting "the best actor for the role". Hollywood has many years and examples of that casting practice in action, and it has a way of working out markedly better for some groups than others. I can't blame the trans community if they're not just going to sit on their hands and wait, politely hoping that Hollywood bothers to consider involving them, when telling the stories of their world.

Edited by Dejana
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The slippery slope is hardly ever as perilous as envisioned by worst-case hypothetical scenarios, and I don't think not bothering to start is the best answer to the question of "Where does it end?" Hollywood already has shifted its casting practices throughout its history in a number of areas. Before there were movies, men played female roles on stage. Blackface and yellowface were once engaged in without a second thought, but time marches on and practices change. 

 

The point I was trying to make is that Stephen Hawking is a real person, just like Lili Elbe was a real person. As real people, their lives were shaped by their particular circumstances, and since Redmayne is the link between these two movies, it seems like he's the issue.

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Before there were movies, men played female roles on stage.

 

It goes the other way, too -- opera has a number of "pants roles" where women play male characters.

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Didn't see the movie, but didn't Cate Blanchette play Bob Dylan a few years ago. To me, other that believability there shouldn't be any issues with anyone playing anyone else. If if was not for historical issues a white guy playing a black guy should be no different than a scottish guy playing a russian.

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That makes no damn sense. It wasn't enough to reboot Ghostbusters? They had to do it with an all woman cast and a "guy themed" cast as well?

 

The decision also probably hurts any chance for the women to get the franchise treatment.

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Maybe they're being literal, all the main cast are named Guy. The plot will revolve around all the wacky hijinks that go with the same name thing. No, I don't think that's plausible either. It looks more like they don't trust the Feig version and want to ensure a success.

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Not to be a Sony apologist, but perhaps Sony really does lack faith in the all-female version of Ghostbusters. I am trying to imagine Ghostbusters where all the GB are women and it just doesn't work. I can imagine one or two women as part of the team, but all four doesn't strike me as interesting, at all. It strikes me as gimmicky, and the casting didn't help either. I think both Ghostbusters are going to get a lukewarm reception a la Robocop though. 

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Of course there is no easy solution but it has to grate when the chestnut " the best actor available" gets thrown up to justify giving the same pool of actors most roles.

So Benedit Cumberbatch being available for Black and Asian roles as well as most mainstream roles , I mean, seriously.

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Disney is developing a live-action version of Mulan. I wasn't on board with all of Disney's live-action remakes, but Mulan's my favorite and I need this now. 

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Obviously this is completely delusional, but...I still kind of want Ming Na Wen to play Mulan. I know that's never going to happen because she is older than the character, but whatever! They should totally cast her as Mulan's mother or something though. Mulan is probably my favourite Disney movie so I'm glad they're planning to make a live action version.

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If they are really going to re-make Mulan, I hope they don't stick too close to the original script. I love it, but it has even more plot holes/etc. than the usual Disney flick.

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Well, there are a couple of scenes they MUST include:

 

1. "I'll Make a Man Out of You." Because, c'mon. Disney obviously thought that "Reflection" would become Mulan's signature song. Little did they know. 

2. The Huns on the hill! That entire scene was epic. I need that avalanche in my life. I don't care if physics makes a live-action rendering implausible. If it worked for the Fast & Furious movies...

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Is it going to be a remake of the animated movie or just a retelling? If it is the latter, then there are a few Chinese versions to tide you over until it comes. One version is streaming on Amazon for $3.00. It is dubbed into English, if that is an issue for you.

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I'm familiar with the 2009 movie, which I've been meaning to watch, but since I'm mostly interested in seeing "I'll Make a Man Out of You" come to life, the Chinese versions don't exactly hit the spot. 

 

ETA: And dubbing is always an issue! 

Edited by galax-arena

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1. "I'll Make a Man Out of You." Because, c'mon. Disney obviously thought that "Reflection" would become Mulan's signature song. Little did they know.

 

Ha! That. Is. My. Jam. I have to watch it every time it plays on Disney channel.

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Wow, they're really on the live-action kick right now.

 

I think the only reason Pocohantas isn't being announced is because they did a recent live, non-musical version just about 10 years ago. I also think Disney would be terrified of the crap they would get from the Native American community about how they depict the culture, given that we're in the age now where "Braves" is offensive.

 

I'm kinda surprised The Little Mermaid isn't being bandied about first though- Mulan was great but it wasn't as popular as the Little Mermaid still is now.

Edited by methodwriter85

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Isn't it a little hard to film a movie underwater?

Talk to James Cameron. He's done two movies with a large water-based plot, so he probably has some ideas how to do it again.

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I think it would be insanely difficult to do The Little Mermaid, considering the underwater technology that'd be necessary. I'm assuming they'd have do motion capture, but with CGI for the fins? It's kind of crazy to imagine how that would look.

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Ron Howard managed to shoot Daryl Hannah as a mermaid underwater in Splash and that was in the 80s when the tech wasn't as advanced as it is now.   With the right director and modern tech, a live action Little Mermaid is possible.  

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Daryl Hannah swam, which is easy to do underwater.  Acting underwater is considerably more complicated.  And then all the dialogue has to be dubbed in.

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I think there are two Little Mermaid movies in the works, but neither of them are Disney related.

 

I can definitely get behind a live-action Mulan.  It makes more sense that Tim Burton doing a live action Dumbo (ugh). 

 

1. "I'll Make a Man Out of You." Because, c'mon. Disney obviously thought that "Reflection" would become Mulan's signature song. Little did they know.

 

Even if they don't keep in the songs, they MUST keep the awesome music score of "Mulan's Decision."  I used to watch my VHS tape of the movie all the time just for that scene!

 

I would love for Ming-Na-Wen to reprise the role, but I doubt that will happen.  Maybe they'll have Eddie Murphy voice Mushu again -- if Mushu will be in the live-action version anyway.

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Obviously this is completely delusional, but...I still kind of want Ming Na Wen to play Mulan. I know that's never going to happen because she is older than the character, but whatever! They should totally cast her as Mulan's mother or something though. Mulan is probably my favourite Disney movie so I'm glad they're planning to make a live action version.

 

I would love for Ming-Na-Wen to reprise the role, but I doubt that will happen.  Maybe they'll have Eddie Murphy voice Mushu again -- if Mushu will be in the live-action version anyway.

I think Gemma Chan would be perfect to play Mulan but she's probably out of the range if Disney is looking for someone in their 20s.

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I like Jamie Chung, and I'm not against pan-Asian casting in general (as long as it's East Asians for East Asians, Southeast Asians for Southeast Asians, etc.), but Mulan is a Chinese folk hero, so I think they should look for a Chinese actress. Jamie might have played her on OUAT, but that was such a minor role, all things considered. 

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Wasn't Sofia Coppola supposed to be directing a live-action Little Mermaid at some point? I dunno if it's Disney-related though.

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I imagine they wouldn't film a live action Little Mermaid underwater, but make it look that way with VFX in post-production.

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Wasn't Sofia Coppola supposed to be directing a live-action Little Mermaid at some point? I dunno if it's Disney-related though.

 

Funny or Die did a short film that imagined what Little Mermaid by her would look like:

 

 

Honestly, that would be awesome.

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