Bomer will play trans sex worker in new film 'Anything'

By Joey Nolfi
September 01, 2016 at 04:03 PM EDT
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

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Mark Ruffalo has taken to social media to address the trans community’s critical response to the casting of actor Matt Bomer as a transgender sex worker in his new film, Anything

As an executive producer on the project, Ruffalo has addressed concerns regarding Bomer’s involvement in the film in a series of tweets posted Wednesday night. 

“To the Trans community. I hear you. It’s wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time,” he wrote. “In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making The Normal Heart.

 

As noted by Variety, in Anything — which also stars Maura Tierney, Micah Hauptman, Margot Bingham, and Melora Hardin — Bomer’s character befriends a suicidal man who moves from Mississippi to Los Angeles after the death of his wife. It will be directed by Timothy McNeil, making his directorial debut as he adapts a script based on his play, which shares a title with the film.

As Ruffalo mentioned, the pair previously starred together in HBO’s Emmy-winning feature The Normal Heart, based on the 1985 stage play of the same name, in which Bomer plays Ruffalo’s love interest. Bomer, who is openly gay, won a Golden Globe for his work on the film. 

After news broke that Bomer will star as a transgender character, members of the LGBT community lashed out at the film’s producers on social media, asserting that a real trans woman should have been cast in the film instead of a cisgender actor.

“More cis men being sourced to play trans women. Hollywood, do better,” one user tweeted, linking to an article announcing Bomer’s casting. Actress Jen Richards added: “I auditioned for this. I told them they shouldn’t have a cis man play a trans woman. They didn’t care.” 

 

Some tweets also implied Ruffalo is a hypocrite, citing various messages from the actor’s profile that seemed to champion transgender accomplishments in media before he hired a cisgendered man to play the part of a trans character. 

 

“There are many qualified trans actors and writers who could have played in and advised on the construction of the scenes you’re about to edit into a motion picture. They will lose more work because of this,” trans musician Mya Byrne wrote in a piece for Huffington Post. “We know you have good intentions. But those intentions have far-reaching after-effects that you, as cis men, don’t experience.”

Actress Jamie Clayton, from Netflix’s Sense8, claimed she was blocked by Bomer on Twitter after tweeting, “I really hope you both choose to do some actual good for the trans community one day,” at his account. She was later removed from Bomer’s list of blocked users. 

 

While many called for Bomer’s role to be recast, Ruffalo indicated the film had wrapped, and that casting a new actor is no longer possible. 

“The movie is already shot and Matt poured his heart and soul into this part. Please have a little compassion. We are all learning,” he said. 

 

Bomer has yet to publicly comment on the controversy.

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