"Difficult People" star Shakina Nayfack and TS Madison speak about the offensiveness of the premise.
The new film “The Assignment” is opening on April 7, but it has many in the trans community already planning to boycott it
Directed by Walter Hill, this thriller follows Michelle Rodriguez taking vigilante action on her captors after they kidnap, then perform man-to-woman sexual re-assignment surgery on her.
Transgender actress and break-out star of Hulu’s “Difficult People,” Shakina Nayfack was invited to a premiere screening of the film, but says she will be boycotting it instead.
She says the film makes a mockery of gender confirmation surgery on often lifesaving procedures that many transgender people can’t afford.
“That the premise of this film is getting revenge after someone's gender was reassigned against their will is to fetishize transgender bodies while simultaneously invalidating our existence and the very real need we have for these surgeries,” she tells San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
Michelle Rodriguez, playing “Frank Kitchen/Tomboy” has defended the film which was at one point called “Tomboy,” saying the industry seemed to running low on creativity.
“I played a male assassin for four days in the movie and boy was that beard itchy,” Rodriguez said on an Instagram post (since removed). “Then out [for] revenge. A twisted Doctor played by Sigorney Weaver decides to take my character’s manhood away with a sex-change to teach him a lesson. I never felt more like a woman than when I played a man. For the rest of the film I was stuck in a newly operated sex changed body. I had boob covers to look like a man implants & I wore a fake hairy mangina which you can’t really see because they made it so hairy. In retrospect I’m glad I took the plunge…”
Shakina says making light of the transgender experience for the sake of “creativity,” is insensitive and trivializing, especially to a population already struggling with a convoluted and marginalizing medical system.
“It sensationalizes our transitions, equates trans identity with genitalia, and does so cluelessly and I would imagine without much regard for the trans community and the medical care we rely on,” said Shakina
We reached out to our favorite trans vlogger, actress and film lover TS Madison for her reaction to the movie. She says it may have been a tiny bit better had a trans actress taken the lead instead of a cis woman. Madison says mainstream cinema won't get anything right unless the industry changes.
"In order to see transgender persons and people of LBGT portrayed the way WE NEED it will be in the hands of LBGT producers and directors to create the way in Hollywood."
We asked Madison if she will see the film or boycott it.
"I will only watch it to truly dissect it," she said, adding, "But it will be on a Tuesday when it's five-bucks with free popcorn."