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When we had first heard about Tomboy: A Revenger's Tale, we had a feeling it would ruffle some feathers. Sure enough, we've got the first statement coming out against the film today, and it falls in line with the most logical complaint one could lodge against it.
Entertainment Weekly reported today that GLAAD's director of program for transgender media, Nick Adams, issued a statement putting down the Walter Hill directed project under the following grounds:
We haven’t read the script, but it’s disappointing to see filmmakers turning what is a life-saving medical procedure for transgender people into a sensationalistic plot device.
The most interesting part about Adams' statement against Tomboy: A Revenger's Tale, is the fact that he readily admits that he hasn't read the script. While the plot calls for Michelle Rodriguez's hit-man character to be forced into gender reassignment by Sigourney Weaver's evil doctor character, the actual details of the plot – as well as the direction of the anger our unnamed hitman will experience, are at this point unknown. That said, there are definitely some concerns that come up when thinking about what the film's logline promises.
One could imagine that if this film were made in Hill's 80's or 90's heyday, it would have been a film starring Nick Nolte or Bruce Willis as the hitman, with Sigourney Weaver probably playing the part of the post-transformative variant of the character. Of course, this would also mean that the gender politics of the film would have been a little more lax, with society being in a not as progressive mood about the subject of transgender characters. After all, this was also the era where Sleepaway Camp used a forcibly transgender character as the film's villain. By the time the film revealed that Angela was actual a man, the situation was played purely for shock value. You can see how the film used this reveal below.
As we'd like to think we're in a more understanding time, one would have to think that in order to even attempt to make a film like Tomboy: A Revenger's Tale, anyone involved in the process would have vetted this idea for even the slightest hint of controversy. Though, to properly handle the situation moving forward, it probably would be wise if Walter Hill and the folks backing the film provide Nick Adams with a copy of the script. Unfortunately for Hill's sake, the details of this project are going to have to come out in the open in order to quell any sort of negative press the film may garner.
Without anyone having read the script, the jury's still out on whether Tomboy: A Revenger's Tale is a truly offensive film, or if it just has the misfortune of being cursed with a logline that sells the film in all of the wrong ways. If the people working on the film hadn't meant to get the attention of advocacy groups like GLAAD, who are doing all they can to properly educate the public on matters such as transgender relations, they certainly have the spotlight now.
How they react in the near future is going to mean a lot to the project's status, as the film doesn't start shooting until next month – leaving plenty of time for the proverbial plug to be pulled. For now, Tomboy: A Revenger's Tale is set to go before cameras at some point next month.