The Zoolander trailer features Benedict Cumberbatch as a transgender model raising eyes over the implicated homophobia which has already riled up enough people to sign a petition to boycott the movie.
The presentation of modelling in the movie Zoolander back in 2001 was an exaggeration beyond doubt. The Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson starrer was received well in its comedic sense. Critics gave it positive reviews and the movie was put aside in Ben Stiller’s box of comedic greats.
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Lately he considered the movie once again and decided to direct the sequel. Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson are reprising their roles from the original movie. Only, they have made the 15 years jump into the modern world of fashion.
Once again the film is drawing on the scheme of exaggerating the world of fashion but this time they seemed to have moved one step too far. The trailer for the movie released recently and with many things one might find ridiculous, the one thing no one could ignore was Benedict Cumberbatch in an androgynous character called ‘All’.
In an LGBT supporting era, the character appears intended to satirise the rise in popularity of transgender models. An online petition was initiated and so far has been signed by 9,000 people already.
The petition states that in the trailer of Zoolander 2 , Benedict Cumberbatch plays an androgynous character is asked by Zoolander and Hansel if he is a ‘male or female model’, and if they ‘have a hot dog or a bun’.
Additionally, Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.
The petition further stated that if the producers and screenwriters of Zoolander wanted to provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry, they could have approached models like Andreja Pejić to be in the film.
By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large.
The audiences are seriously offended by Cumberbatch’s role forgetting that he played a closeted gay scientist, Alan Turing last year in the movie Imitation Game for which he received an Oscar nomination.
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The actors and director of the film have not many statements regarding the petition. The movie features Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig and Justin Bieber and is due to be released on February, 12.