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Elle Fanning stars as trans teen in trailer for controversial film

By Ross Semple

The trailer for a controversial film that stars Elle Fanning as a transgender teen has been released.

3 Generations features Elle as a trans boy named Ray as he navigates life through the early stages of his transition. Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon star as Ray’s mother and grandmother.

The trailer descibes the film as “a human comedy for today”. In a voice over, Ray says: “The hardest part of my day is knowing everyone still sees me as a girl.” While most of Ray’s family appear supportive of his transition, there are moments where his family don’t seem to understand him. “Why can’t she just be a lesbian?” Sarandon’s character asks Watts.

Ray’s father does not appear supportive of his son’s transition, repeatedly misgendering him in the trailer.

The reaction to the trailer on Twitter was, as expected, not very positive, with most opining that the role should’ve been played by a trans actor. Writer Jennifer Harrison gave the ‘wild suggestion’ that Fanning’s role could’ve been given to a trans teen boy.

The pattern of trans roles being predominantly portrayed by cisgender actors is something that has been repeatedly addressed in recent years; from reactions to Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl to Matt Bomer in the play Anything. 

Last year Nick Adams, a transgender staff member from GLAAD, called the widespread casting of cis actors in trans roles as “toxic and dangerous.”

At last year’s Emmy Awards, Jeffrey Tambor (who plays trans woman Maura Pfefferman in the Amazon series Transparent), called on Hollywood to “give transgender talent a chance.

“Give them auditions. Give them their story,” he implored.

“I would be happy if I were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female,” he added.

3 Generations comes to US cinemas in May. Watch the trailer below: