Halle Berry Apologizes for Considering Playing Transgender Man for Film Role

Illustration for article titled Halle Berry Apologizes for Considering Playing Transgender Man for Film Role
Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP (Getty Images)

Halle Berry issued a statement of apology on Monday after backlash for discussing her intentions to play a transgender man for a film she was pitched. She revealed she was considering the role during an Instagram Live session with hairstylist Christin Brown over the weekend.

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“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,” she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I am grateful for the guidance and critical conversation over the past few days and I will continue to listen, educate and learn from this mistake.”

In the comments of her statement, many appreciated her decision to step down from the role and suggested that she watch the Netflix documentary Disclosure to better understand why trans actors should play trans roles.

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During the Instagram Live conversation, Berry said that the role was for a project that she “might be doing,” and that she was eager to explore the facets of the character. The name of the film has not been released.

“I want to experience that world, understand that world,” she explained. “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.” In the comments of Brown’s post, many voiced their criticism of Berry, a cisgender woman, considering taking the opportunity to play a trans character from a trans person.

“Trans people are so very tired of cis actors taking up roles that so many trans people would give anything to play,” one commenter wrote, before noting that Berry misgendered the character. “If you’re already not using the right terms from the jump you have no business playing this role.”

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Scarlett Johannson faced similar backlash in 2018 after announcing she’d play Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in the film Rub and Tug. She eventually stepped away from the role and admitted she’d mishandled the situation after fervently defending the decision to cast her.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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DISCUSSION

thedrdonna
"Not a real" DrDonna

I think it’s...possible, perhaps, for a cis actor to bring nuance, depth, and understanding to a trans role. With that said, a person who describes the role of a trans man as “That’s a woman. That’s a female story. Yes, she transitioned into a man but I want to understand the why and the how of that.” Is clearly not someone who has any insight into the trans community.

Also, to all the greys who are saying that turnabout is fair play, and trans folks shouldn’t get cis roles: you can take it on trust that every trans person has extensive experience in playing non-trans roles.