Michelle Rodriguez's next role is perhaps not what you'd expect from an actress famed for starring in The Fast and The Furious franchise, but there we have it. Appearing opposite Alien's Sigourney Weaver in an upcoming thriller entitled Tomboy, A Revenger's Tale, Rodriguez will play a hitman, mislead by gangsters and then forced into a gender-swapping operation by a rogue doctor.
As 2015 has turned out to be quite the discursive year for issues of gender and equality, the content of Tomboy is exceptionally on topic. However, as the storyline revolves around a protagonist who, after being operated on by force, spends the remainder of the movie seeking revenge, this is not exactly a positive message to send to an audience whose only just begun to see transgender issues being addressed within the mainstream.
What's interesting then, is Rodriguez's involvement in the film, especially as she has spoken openly about her bisexuality and the importance of inspiring others to stand up for who they are.
Speaking to Gay Star News, she once said:
"But I do realize the importance of having the bravery to live as who you are and I feel like a lot of people don't have that bravery. Maybe by me opening my big fat mouth like I usually do and stepping up and owning who I am, maybe it might inspire somebody else to do the same."
LGBT group GLAAD (formerly known as Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) have slammed the film's premise, claiming that it undermines the progress they have made so far in regards to increasing public acceptance of the transgender community. The group's director of programs for transgender media, Nick Adams, told The Hollywood Reporter:
"We haven't read the script, but it's disappointing to see filmmakers turning what is a life-saving medical procedure for transgender people into a sensationalistic plot device.
"We are at a crucial moment in the public's understanding of transgender issues, and stories like these have the potential to undermine the progress we've worked so hard to achieve."
Michelle Rodriguez is notoriously "picky" when it comes to the characters she chooses to portray, so it will be good to see how she reacts to these complaints. One thing is doubtless though, she'll make a flippin' fantastic hitwoman. You just have to remember the way she took down Ronda Rousey in Furious 7 to know that.
Directed by Walter Hill and produced by Said Ben Said (Map to the Stars) and Michel Merkt of SBS, Tomboy, A Revenger's Tale is a script written by Hill adapted from a story by Denis Hamill.
It's set to start filming in Vancouver on November 9th.