Transitioning? Why Halle Berry Quitting a Transgender Role Avoids the Real Problem

The pressure to do the right thing in Hollywood is something that permeates every actor’s being — Halle Berry has proved she is no different. Variety reports the Academy Award-winning actress has dropped out of a role that she was being considered for because it was about a transgender person and the inane trolls out there let her know what they thought.

During an Instagram Live interview last week (at the time of this post), Halle Berry allowed fans and journalists a peek behind the scenes of what is the role and why she is leaving:

[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,

Halle Berry, Variety

There are thousands of armchair quarterbacks out there with their eyes on Hollywood — wannabe casting agents, directors, producers, screenwriters, and even critics. Among the large gaggle of people (mostly who mean well by offering an opinion on those things for the cinephile, audiophile, or geckaphile) are cowardly trolls who hide behind a faux name and avatar.

And those are the individuals who took it upon themselves to attack Halle Berry for considering a transgender role. Why? She’s not a transgender person.

Halle Berry Spoils and Bounces

Halle Berry refuses to take on transgender role
Source: Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment/87Eleven

Berry, known in the LGBTQ community, as a “cis actor” (basically, someone who was born as a certain gender who still identifies with that gender) and that may be the reason why she was trolled for considering such a role. Never mind there have been oodles of actors who aren’t gay who have played gay characters — they were out for blood.

And they got it. In only two days. Such bravery. Here is Halle Berry’s change of heart:

It’s true the transgender community doesn’t have proper representation in Hollywood or anywhere. Look at what is happening in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter. That is centuries in the making. Unfortunately, Halle Berry wasn’t given the benefit that she was hired to portray a trans man and was planning on doing a stellar job. Even Netflix got in the act:

Following Halle Berry’s decline of the role and “awakening” to what’s really going on, the LGBTQ foundational rights advocacy group chimed in with gratitude:

What Will Hollywood Learn From This?

Hollywood sign
Credit: AP Images/Invision

It is clear the LGBTQ community wants its own to represent them. If you have a trans role, call Amanda Lepore, Laverne Cox, Alexis Arquette, or Chaz Bono. (There are more actors than you think.) But, what example does this set for the future? Tell us, what’s next?

The next time we need a gay actor, call only a gay person.

Movies like Brokeback Mountain, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Kids Are Alright, and Milk should be picketed and expunged. Sure, they were honored by the Academy and caused the most rigid of straight to cheer, but hey, those actors weren’t gay, so screw it. Who cares about the positive light they shined on a movement and an entire community. They weren’t real, so piss on ’em.

What about people who speak in different accents?

You Brits are so guilty of misrepresentation and Hollywood enables it. Toni Colette, Daniel-Day Lewis, Charlie Hunnam, Margot Robbie, and Rosamund Pike — frauds! Faking that American or Colonial accents. Shame on you. Only rednecks need apply moving forward. No one cares about your method acting. Fru-fru fake-ass folk. Go get a job elsewhere.

Flip the script, Americans. You’re no better.

Natalie Portman, Peter Dinklage, Gillian Anderson, Renee Zellwegger, and Julianne Moore? About as fake as a Kardashian passed IQ test. Who cares about the awards and celebration they have won for British accents? Sure, they have convinced even the most staunch of upper-lip folk across the pond. Never mind that. They’re all Americans and should be ashamed.

What about culture-fakers?

It all began with Charlie Chaplin in 1940 as a Jewish barber in The Great Dictator. Really, Charlie? Born in South London. Yes, it doesn’t matter when you consider Charlton Heston, born in Evanston, Illinois starred as Moses. I’m not sure if you know your biblical geography, but dude was very Jewish in the Good Book. Today, we have Al Pacino starring in Amazon Prime’s Hunters. That guy is as Jewish as some redneck in East Texas. And then there was Cate Blanchett who starred as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There. Halle Berry has a grievance because Cate wasn’t even trying to be trans or Jewish. (Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman.) What’s up with that?!

People who don’t have superpowers or mutant abilities?

Yeah, every one of you should never call Marvel or DC again. Lose their number. You’re a bunch of charlatans. Please. Like any of you could really fly or run at the speed of sound. Think about Krypton: Kal-El’s dad has an Aussie accent but when he is shipped to Earth, the guy sounds like middle America. And have you heard Henry Cavill speak in real life?!

Voice actors who pretend they are animals or cars?

Well, you know where this is going. Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, and Sony Animation need to start calling real animals and teaching the progeny of Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and Benji to do some of these things and crack jokes. If there is a horse in need, holler at a Triple Crown winner. Need a lion? James Earl Jones sucks as an actor anyway.

Seriously, Transfix on the real point

Hollywood should teach us about representation
Source: AP/Shutterstock

Turn the thing around, Hollywood. Show us what we should learn from this, instead of making us regret it watching it happen. For decades, people have been acting like one thing when they are really the other.

From creeds to colors (yes, Robert Downey, Jr., we’re talking to you), religions to realities, accents to affects — everything has been done in Hollywood. And most of the time, it’s been done very well. Some movies have tanked, earned Razzies, and been complete embarrassments to the very people or groups of people they portray. There have been other films that are acclaimed, earned Oscars, and lift up an entire group of people for reasons that are countless and all important.

If you have a good script with great actors, odds are great the film or TV show will make people recognize, respond, and reward it for the work of art it is — see Moonlight, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Transparent, A Fantastic Woman, The Danish Girl, Call Me By Your Name, or The Imitation Game.

Me

Hollywood has had a representation problem for more than a century. Only until recently has it represented the very people who watch the movies and TV shows. Now, they need to represent the very people who actually make the movies and TV shows.

There are amazingly talented people in all communities who should easily get a job in Hollywood, if only the right people approached them or offered them. That’s always the problem — people don’t take chances on strangers or untold talent. They would rather align themselves with a safe bet who could make changes, than stand next to an unproven talent and try to make improvements.

Until that mindset changes, there will always be uprisings like what happened to Halle Berry. And, there will always be fake illusions of growth like GLAAD acknowledged. Talent is talent, plain and simple. If you have it, great. If you don’t, find another line of work. And it shouldn’t matter if that job is in a supporting role in front of the camera or acting as a grip behind it.

If you are talented, fight to make Hollywood notice you so the right communities can uplift you until we can all see you and celebrate your achievements.

Talent. Find it. Uncover it. Multiply it. Cherish it. That should be Hollywood’s true point of debate instead of picking on an actress who says “yes” during a job interview. This isn’t about her. Maybe, she can be the reason this conversation starts.

Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.

Erica Jong, Fear of Flying (1973)

Featured Image Credit: Ernest Doroszuk/Postmedia Network

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