'about ray' director explains why she cast elle fanning as transgender boy

In 'About Ray,' Fanning plays a New York teenager beginning his transition from male to female.

by Nick Levine and i-D Staff
18 August 2015, 4:33pm

Gaby Dellal, director of upcoming trans-themed film About Ray, has explained why she cast a cisgender actor as its transitioning lead character. In the moving and celebratory film, Elle Fanning plays Ray, a New York teenager who is beginning his transition from female to male. "The part is a girl and she is a girl who is presenting in a very ineffectual way as a boy," Dellal told Refinery 29, adding that Fanning's character is "not pretending to have a deeper voice. She's just a girl who is being herself and is chasing the opportunity to start hormone treatment. So to actually use a trans boy was not an option because this isn't what my story is about."

Dellal also explained that casting high-profile actors such as Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon - who appear as Ray's mother and grandmother respectively - helped to secure her film's production budget. "I would never discriminate against a trans kid or actor coming up to audition, but in this day and age in cinema, where it's almost impossible to raise the financing, unfortunately we have to have some people that mean a certain amount of money," she said. 

About Ray arrives in cinemas on September 18. 

Elle Fanning
about ray