Halle Berry is under fire for declaring her intent to play a transgender man in a new film and for misgendering the character she’d be portraying.
Halle Berry is apologizing after she spoke about playing a transgender man in an upcoming film. In a statement shared to her Instagram, she wrote, “Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to discuss my consideration of an upcoming role as a transgender man, and I’d like to apologize for those remarks. 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.”
“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,” she continued. “I vow to be an ally in using my voice to promote better representation on-screen, both in front of and behind the camera.”
alle Berry is facing criticism after she shared her wish to play a transgender person in a new film.
In a new Instagram Live interview the actress did with hairstylist Christin Brown, Halle revealed she was previously preparing for a role in which she’d portray a transgender man. “[It’s] a character where the woman is a trans character, so she’s a woman that transitioned into a man,” Berry explained. “She’s a character in a project I love that I might be doing.”
She continued, “This project got pitched to me right when I was on the brink of making Bruised and making my directorial debut and I so was in the mindset of getting in the body to play that… But this got pitched to me, and I thought, after I do this movie, that’s the character I’m going to play.”
Berry added that she wants to do a “deep dive” into “that world,” seemingly making reference to the trans community. “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,” she plainly stated.
She also claimed the movie was a “female story” that she thinks is “important” to share.
Berry’s comments on the potential role drew backlash because she misgendered the character and many people believe the role should go to a trans person, as the LGBTQ+ site Pink News first reported.
Trans activist Serena Dianari explained on Twitter, “It absolutely is NOT a female story, it is a story about a man. And why is the aspect of physical transition the focal point for her? Cis peoples’ understanding of trans issues is really myopic. Girl watch Disclosure on Netflix.”
Emmy Zje further explained the potential harm Berry’s comments could cause. “One more thing @halleberry, thanks so much for listening. Trans men are men, not women. Trans women are women, not men. Nonbinary people aren’t their gender assigned at birth. They’re nonbinary,” she shared. “These tropes saying otherwise are dangerous for trans people and get us killed.”
As for why critics don’t want the Monster’s Ball actress to get the role, Ari Drennen stated, “Please don’t play a transgender character; there are so many talented trans actors trying to get their break in Hollywood and as a cis woman this is not your story to tell—especially since you misgendered the character right off the bat.”
The Twitter account for the Netflix documentary Disclosure also invited Berry to view their film. “Hi @halleberry, we heard you’re considering playing a trans man in your next project. We ask that you please watch @Disclosure_Doc on @netflix first to understand how cis actors like yourself acting in trans roles has major cultural consequences offscreen,” they wrote.
E! News has reached out to Berry for comment.
The Catwoman actress’ comments come amid increased calls for representation across the board. Laverne Cox told Kelly Clarkson last week, “The [Black Trans Lives Matter movement has] been going on for a very long time and I think we’ve just—people are starting to pay attention and we have a long way to go, right… We have a long way to go in terms of really being fully inclusive of everyone, but that’s the country, that’s the world.”