Heartstopper’s Yasmin Finney on important reason why trans actors should be able to play ‘any role’

Yasmin Finney

Heartstopper actor and future Doctor Who star Yasmin Finney eloquently explained the problem with casting cis actors in trans roles.

The actor, who made her on-screen debut as schoolgirl Elle Argent in Netflix’s hit rom-com Heartstopper, spoke about why the casting choices of movies such as The Danish Girl are problematic.

“What I have a problem with is when people search up the cast for The Danish Girl and they see Eddie Redmayne isn’t trans and it was all a lie,” she told The Guardian. “It creates this image for trans people that we aren’t actually what we say we are.”

Redmayne played trans artist Lile Elbe in the 2015 film. Despite wide criticism of the casting decision, with many arguing that a trans woman should have played the character, he still earned an Oscar nomination.

Finney was recently announced to join Doctor Who as it’s taken over by former showrunner Russell T Davies.

She’ll play a character named Rose – though there’s been no explanation of whether there’s any overlap with Billie Piper’s iconic companion, Rose Tyler.

Speaking to The Guardian, Finney expressed a desire to break the mould of trans actors only playing trans characters, one that she believes would be the biggest step towards change.

“I think we’ll really [have] change when I can play a character whose gender identity or sexuality isn’t specified,” she said.

“That’s when the industry will start to see trans actors as normal actors like everybody else, and we can play any role that we want to.”

Finney is a big believer in representation for marginalised communities as an instigator for social change.

“You do not understand: the amount of time I’ve spent searching for representation, clawing for it, and trying to find somebody I could look up to as an idol, somebody that is a reflection of me,” she said.

Yasmin Finney as Elle in Heartstopper.

Yasmin Finney as Elle in Heartstopper. (Netflix)

The star also expressed her excitement about starring in Doctor Who and working with veteran show writer Russell T Davies: “I am in awe of the fact that I’ve been seen by such a legend. I was worried about having two huge fanbases following me and whether they’d get along, but I think it’s going pretty well so far.”