Rodriguez, 38, unintentionally stoked the flames of controversy once again last week when she posted a photo of herself on Instagram in her full costume for the movie. In the film, which was previously titled “Tomboy: A Revenger’s Tale” the “Fast and the Furious” actress plays a male assassin forced to undergo gender reassignment surgery by an evil doctor, turning the character into one that presents as female.
“I never felt more like a woman than when I played a man,” Rodriguez, who is openly bisexual, wrote Sept. 14. She went on to note that for much of the film, she “was a man stuck in a newly operated sex changed body,” and wore a “fake hairy mangina.”
Some of Rodriguez’s followers, however, weren’t impressed by the transformation or by the actress’s comment on the image. “Just because you’re bi, doesn’t make it okay to be a d*ck and mock transgender people,” one person wrote. Added another: “You know what makes me want to scream? People turning my identity into some sort of sick joke for the sake of cheap entertainment.”
Celebrity blogger and entrepreneur Perez Hilton echoed those sentiments, writing, “We get where she’s coming from, but there’s a huge difference between creative edginess and exploiting gender reassignment as a plot device for an action flick.”
A day before the Instagram post, Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter that she felt much of the pre-release criticism of “(Re)Assignment” was misguided.
“It’s an action genre film, and we’re not psychological or deep about [being trans], so lay off,” she said in the interview, which can be viewed above. “It’s an entertainment piece. Calm down, guys. I’m on your team.” A request by The Huffington Post for further comment about the controversy was not immediately returned by Rodriguez’s publicist.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, she might need more than support from the community to save the film. The Guardian called “(Re)Assignment,” which debuted at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and is slated for release next year, a “staggering misfire,” while the BBC argued that the movie was “crippled by Rodriguez’s limited performance.”