The year 2021 has been jam-packed with musical films. Steven Spielberg, a well-known director, joined in the fun by releasing his version of West Side Story just in time for the holidays. The treatment of the character Anybodys was one of many character alterations made in this new version of the cherished musical. A transgender version of the character was brought to life through a “joyful” cooperation, as West Side Story performer Iris Menas recently described to an online publication.
Tony Kushner’s brilliant writing for West Side Story gives many of the secondary characters, especially Anybodys, more depth. The role represented by Iris Menas was portrayed as a trans man rather than a tomboy who wants to play for the Jets. Menas and I had the pleasure of talking about the experience of playing that part and working with Steven Spielberg. I was signalled to make the following assertion:
Undoubtedly, it was a collaborative approach. In the same breath, trans persons are frequently the only ones present in this industry at this moment. are frequently required to perform a great deal of educational work, emotional labour, and, quite frankly, some consulting. but was not paid for that. And I’m happy to report that neither was the case nor was that my experience with this production. Tony and Steven did an excellent job of front-loading all of that work and researching an experience they had only learnt about. Just knowing that they had decided to undertake the work on their own made me feel so happy and relieved as I entered the room. so that I could fill the role and bring my unique perspective, experiences, and perspective on Anyones at the moment. Therefore, I truly believed that it was a team effort, but not in a tedious way. It was a very happy manner to work together.
That’s all there is to it. Along with having the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg, it appears that Iris Menas was drawn to the teamwork on the West Side Story set. Particularly when the Anybodys actor wasn’t charged with enlightening the cast and crew about trans problems.
Iris Menas from West Side Story self-identifies as a trans masculine non-binary lesbian, therefore she has had a life that other people may not be familiar with. And while trans people on sets are occasionally required to perform a great deal of emotional labour in addition to shooting, menas’ experience working on the critically acclaimed film musical wasn’t like that. Instead, the movie’s leadership handled the job so that Iris Menas could concentrate on bringing this new Anybodys to life.
This realisation highlights how much work remains to be done in the film business, despite the inclusion of transgender people. Because in addition to being inclusive, it’s important to make the transgender population feel at home and enable them to perform their actual jobs. It is hoped that studios would take note of how Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story was able to do this.
Currently playing in theatres, West Side Story is anticipated to make more money over the long weekend. Check out the 2022 release dates for movies to help you schedule your next cinematic outing.
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