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Director defends Michelle Rodriguez over ‘transphobic’ film role

By Ross Semple

A film director has explained that he cast Michelle Rodriguez in a film that has been met with accusations of transphobia as an “artistic challenge”.

The Assignment, previously titled (re)Assignment, has faced strong criticism from LGBT+ groups since it was first announced over its controversial storyline which sees the Resident Evil star as a hitman who seeks revenge after being forced to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Walter Hill, the film’s director, told Page Six: “We thought about casting a guy for a long time and then I thought that it would be too much about makeup, transforming a man into a woman.

“So I thought that it would be a greater artistic challenge.”

Denis Hamill, who wrote the film’s screenplay, addressed the controversy with his own take: “In this movie, the character goes through a sex-change operation but not a gender change.

“Gender is between your ears, not what is between your legs.”

Rodriguez previously claimed that she cannot be criticised over the role because she is bisexual.

“You can’t really argue with me because I’m you,” she said at the time, adding that she would “never do a movie with the intention of offending anybody in the LGBT community” because she is “part of it.”

Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s co-star Sigourney Weaver, who plays the crazed doctor responsible for the reassignment surgery, also defended the film’s subject-matter, insisting that nobody was “demeaned or denigrated” by it.

“It’s not a Disney movie – it is noir,” the 67-year-old added.

Watch the trailer for The Assignment below: