Skip To Content

    Mark Ruffalo Addresses Trans Community Backlash Over Casting Matt Bomer As A Trans Woman

    "I hear you," the actor tweeted Wednesday.

    Reactions on social media to the news that Matt Bomer is set to portray a trans sex worker in the upcoming Timothy McNeil film Anything have been been, well, anything but positive.

    Rich Polk / Getty Images

    Principal photography recently wrapped in Los Angeles on the feature, which also stars John Carroll Lynch, Maura Tierney, and Micah Hauptman.

    According to the film's press release, Lynch portrays Early Landry, a man who becomes suicidal over the loss of his wife. When Landry moves from Mississippi to Los Angeles, he begins an unlikely friendship with Freda, a trans sex worker played by Bomer. The two grapple to put aside their extremely different upbringings for the sake of their growing friendship.

    The trans community and trans advocates expressed outrage that yet another trans role in a Hollywood film was not given to a trans actor.

    matt bomer playing a trans woman............ yikes ? how about we start doing this: cast actual trans people for trans roles

    Why the hell is Matt Bomer playing a transgender woman?????

    Jen Richards, a trans actor and director, pointed out that she auditioned for the same film (though a different and smaller role):

    I auditioned for this. I told them they shouldn't have a cis man play a trans woman. They didn't care.

    She went on to tweet out "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.

    When @MattBomer plays a trans sex worker, he is telling the world that underneath it all, trans women like me are still really just men.

    Mark Ruffalo, as one of the project's executive producers, was called out specifically:

    .@MarkRuffalo lip service to the trans community but when actually money and a job is involved -- he hires a cis guy

    On Wednesday, the actor took to Twitter to respond directly to the trans community, writing, "I hear you. It's wrenching to see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation."

    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.

    He mentioned that he originally thought of Bomer for the role after working alongside the actor on HBO's The Normal Heart.

    In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making "The Normal Heart".

    Many people responded by demanding that Bomer be recast, allowing a trans woman to take on the role.

    Others thanked him for (hopefully) opening up a conversation.

    Thank you @MarkRuffalo, this means a lot. I would love to talk to you about it, and how to move forward positively.

    Ruffalo responded to one person, revealing that the film was "already shot" and that Bomer "poured his heart and soul" into the part.


    The actor asked for "a little compassion," adding, "We are all learning."

    Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

    This is not the first time a major film has come under fire for casting a cis actor in a trans role.

    Director Tom Hooper was questioned for casting Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, a trans woman, in the Oscar-nominated film The Danish Girl. In 2014, Jared Leto took home an Oscar for portraying a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club.

    Matt Bomer has not yet addressed the casting controversy publicly.


    Jen Richards auditioned for a part in Anything, but a different role from the part Bomer is playing. An earlier version of this post misstated that Richards auditioned for the same role as Bomer.