Cisgender Male Actors Dubbing Laverne Cox in Promising Young Woman Translations Is Deeply F**ked
Laverne Cox plays one of the supporting characters in Emerald Fennell’s Oscar-winning film Promising Young Woman. While not a meaty role, it was one that allowed Cox to just be an actress and wasn’t focused on her identity as a trans woman. Like many Black women before her, she was in the “lemme help these pretty white people kiss” role. Yet, that didn’t stop her from being treated poorly in the dubbing process of the film internationally.
Huffington Post brought to our attention that Universal Pictures Italy posted (and has since removed) a clip from Promising Young Woman on social media showing Cox’s character, Gail, speaking in a distinctly masculine voice. People then reported that Gail’s dialogue was dubbed in Italian by Roberto Pedicini.
What the absolute hell!?
Once this was found out, other European editions of the film, like Spain, were called out for also employing cisgender male actors to voice Gail. Laverne Cox is internationally known as a transgender icon and rights activist, so this is a choice that is, at best, a hugely ignorant oversight. At worst, I honestly can only imagine, and it makes my skin crawl.
Vittoria Schisano, an Italian trans actor, who had dubbed Cox perviously told The Guardian, “I think this dubbing choice was a straight-up act of violence. It’s insulting. I’d feel bullied if I were [Cox].”
A spokesperson for Universal Pictures International (UPI), told The Guardian,
We are deeply grateful to Laverne and the transgender community for opening our eyes to a bias that neither we nor many in our industry had recognised. While there was no malicious intent behind this mistake, we are working diligently to fix it. We have begun redubbing Ms Cox’s voice with female actors in our international territories and are pushing back release dates to ensure the correct version is available.
UPI said it was “sorry for the pain caused,” but they are “thankful that we can address the situation on this film and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects.”
With all the strides that have been taken to make progress for trans representation, and in a role that would have been an excellent performance for a trans woman to dub (especially when they had one who’d done the work before), this feels especially unkind and cruel. I do hope the work happens so it will not be repeated.
(via HuffPo, image: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
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