Actors often film more than we see in the finished product. It’s up to the editors to make all the footage fit together to construct the narrative that the director wishes to tell. One scene in Port Authority sounds like it was originally planned to be quite different from what ended up in the film.
Port Authority follows Paul (Fionn Whitehead), a young man who is left with nowhere to go after anger issues get him into trouble and his family members turn their backs on him. He meets Wye (Leyna Bloom), a transgender woman of color, in New York and the two have an instant connection but Paul’s secrets threaten to ruin the relationship. I chatted with Fionn Whitehead for an interview with CinemaBlend and he shared the following about a scene that was cut down:
It actually got cut down a lot, but originally there was a scene where Paul breaks into his sister's flat and then he's reenacting meeting for the first time and her saying something different to what she actually says. She’s like, ’What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be on probation, you can't just turn up’ that kind of thing. And then in that scene, which got cut down quite a lot, it was him going, running through a whole conversation with her on either side of the door. So walking back and forth from the side of the door and acting as her, saying, ‘It's really good to see you, come have a seat.’ So I thought that was a really, really moving and interesting scene because it was just Paul totally alone, not trying to show off to anyone and kind of really just bearing his soul in what you really wished he could hear and what he needed, really.
The scene Fionn Whitehead describes where Paul breaks into his sister’s flat does appear in the film, but it’s much shorter and shows the audience how he forms one of his lies rather than gives a look into his psyche. We see that Paul is able to access his sister’s home as he wants Wye to believe that he lives there. Later, when he brings Wye to the flat, we see that he doesn’t quite know where things are as he would if he lived there, and Wye picks up on that.
While the scene introduces more conflict between Wye and Paul beyond how he chooses to ask about her gender identity, what Fionn Whitehead describes above provides more context into Paul’s motives. Wye is sweet and accepting from the get-go and says nothing at all to imply that she would care where Paul lived or worked. But Wye also has a close-knit group of friends and family that embrace her for who she is while Paul’s sister shuts her door in his face when he asks for a place to stay. It sounds like the full scene that was originally shot provides a deeper look into the shame Paul feels for not living up to his own expectations of what he should be able to have and provide, and also the hurt in his broken relationship with his sister. He’s not as tough as he seems and is really affected by being shut out by her.
Port Authority is a lesson in authenticity, both in terms of relationships with others and with the self. Through his relationship with Wye, Paul learns to fully accept himself as she has of them both. The film is now available on Digital and On Demand.