Hollyoaks actress: It’s a shame if Benedict Cumberbatch is making light of trans people

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Transgender Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace has responded to criticism of Benedict Cumberbatch’s role as an androgynous model in Zoolander 2.

The first trailer for the Ben Stiller film features Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch as ‘All’ – a new supermodel who is mocked for their unclear gender.

It is not specified in the trailer whether All is meant to be transgender or genderfluid, but the scene attracted complaints from trans activists as the main characters ask All if they have “a hot dog or a bun”.
Hollyoaks actress: It’s a shame if Benedict Cumberbatch is making light of trans people
After a petition calling out the film passed 12,000 signatures, transgender Hollyoaks actress Annie Wallace spoke out about the film

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s a difficult one to get your head round. First of all, you’re judging something from ten seconds of footage in a trailer.

“It does seem to indicate a certain level of transphobia, but we don’t know anything about the character. It could be a performance artist who is simply doing a bit of androgyny.

“I do think that the petition has a decent point to make – there is still far too much tokenism and prurient humour directed towards trans people in general.

“If it is the case that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing a figure that will be a figure of ‘fun’ – then it’s a shame that they’re doing that in the 21st Century.”

Wallace previously served as a consultant to Coronation Street for the soap’s transgender storyline, featuring Julie Hesmondhalgh as Hayley Cropper.

Of the challenge such a role brings, Wallace said: “Gender is one’s entire identity – it’s how we present to the world, it’s how the world sees us as people, and how we relate to eachother.

“I think an actor with no experience of that has a real uphill task to perform.

“Generally speaking, an actor who is not a trans actor is going to find it very difficult to get inside the skin of that entire identity.”

Listen to the clip and watch the trailer below: