Earlier this week, it emerged that American Horror Story: Hotel actor Matt Bomer was set to play a transgender female sex worker in upcoming drama movie Anything. It's safe to say, the news of the casting didn't go down well with members of the LGBT community.
Many took to Twitter to suggest that a trans actress should have been cast in the role rather than a cisgender man, with a lot of the backlash being aimed at Bomer himself as well as producer Mark Ruffalo.
Now, the Avengers Assemble star has addressed the comments on Twitter, telling critics: "To the trans community. I hear you. It's wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It's time." The 48-year-old also went on to discuss why he pushed Bomer to appear in the project, saying, "In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making The Normal Heart."
While many were pleased that Ruffalo had taken the time to respond and listen to the community's concerns, some went on to ask him directly what he would do about the issue. "The movie is already shot and Matt poured his heart and soul into this part. Please have a little compassion. We are all learning," he responded to one user, who suggested that he recast the role immediately.
Most of the backlash labelled Ruffalo as a hypocrite, drawing reference to how many times he has openly praised transgender accomplishments in the past before hiring a cis man to play the part of a trans character. Trans actress Jen Richards, who most recently appeared in television drama Her Story, was one of the key names who reacted to the news, tweeting that she had actually auditioned for the role during casting and even advised that having someone trans play the part would be best. "They didn't care," she added.
"I've made this point in a few interviews, but never on Twitter, so let me lay it out," Richards continued. "Reasons not to have cis men play trans women: First, there's the practical/economic one. It denies actual trans women opportunities, jobs, resources, which hurts entire community. Then there's an aesthetic. Now, I agree, in principle, that anyone can play anyone.
"As an artist, I want that kind of freedom myself, but having trans people play trans people allows for more informed, subtle, authentic performance. It makes for BETTER ART, which is the point."
Netflix's Sense8 star Jamie Clayton also addressed the casting, quoting the article and saying: "I really hope you both choose to do some actual good for the trans community one day," while tagging fellow actress Michelle Rodriguez and Bomer. She later posted a screenshot, showing that Bomer had blocked her on Twitter. She has, however, since posted on the social media platform that he has unblocked her.
Directed by Timothy McNeil and also starring The Affair's Maura Tierney and The Office's Melora Hardin, Anything will see Bomer's character befriend a suicidal man after he moves to Los Angeles from Mississippi following his wife's death. There is no news as to when it will reach cinemas yet.
For more entertainment news follow A-List on Twitter @Alistinsider