IMDB page for Transamerica
Good CBS article with link to video interview with Felicity Huffman
Good BBC Article w/Links to Video
Writer/Director Duncan Tucker mentions us!
Terri Gross’ NPR interview with Felicity and Bill (She mentions her voice coaching with Andrea and Finding Your Female Voice at 6:23 in the audio file)
Calpernia’s Diary Entry on the Set of Transamerica
More links for Transamerica
Deep Stealth was recently called upon to provide voice training and consultation for Felicity Huffman, star of television’s "Desperate Housewives", for her role as transwoman Bree Daniels in the feature film Transamerica. Calpernia also plays a Texas fiddle player encountered by Felicity’s character, but the very first image in the film (and the first person listed in the closing credits) is our own Andrea James, in an excerpt from "Finding Your Female Voice". Bree is a serious, hard-working woman on track for vaginoplasty and absolutely committed to being accepted by society as the woman she is. And she chooses "Finding Your Female Voice", going through the exercises as she readies herself for work at the beginning of the film.
Transamerica is a film by writer/director Duncan Tucker about a transwoman (Felicity Huffman) who discovers a son she never knew the week before her sexual reassignment surgery. After bailing him out of jail in New York, she returns home to LA with him on a cross-country journey in which she struggles with issues of coming out, parenthood and self acceptance.
Duncan contacted Calpernia and Andrea and engaged them as consultants for his script, verifying the accuracy of his portrayal of a transwoman’s experience. Lead actress Felicity Huffman visited Deep Stealth on numerous occasions to talk with Calpernia and Andrea, and to work on getting her voice right for the role as she saw it.
A festival darling at Tribeca and others, it was acquired by the Weinsteins and will be distributed later this year.
(See Extended Text below for official Weinstein Press Release)
Official Press Release and Trailer for Felicity Huffman’s “Transamerica”
Tuesday, 08 November 2005
The cast of Desperate Housewives came out to support Felicity Huffman’s new movie, “Transamerica,” which chronicles the life of a transsexual named Bree. The Housewives cast attended the AFI special screening in support of the shows emmy winning actress. Detailed information about “Transamerica” after the jump below, as sent by the Weinstein Company.
To view the trailer, head over to apple.com
TRANSAMERICA tells the story of Bree (Felicity Huffman), a conservative transsexual woman who takes an unexpected journey when she learns that when she was a he, she fathered a son (Kevin Zegers), now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York.
Bree, a highly educated transsexual woman who passes as a G.G. (a genetic girl), lives in a poor section of Los Angeles, working two jobs to save money for her final sexual reassignment surgery. When she receives a phone call from Toby, a jailed teenage runaway looking for his father, she’s shocked to discover that a fumbling heterosexual encounter during her life as a man resulted in a son. Bree’s instinct is to turn her back on the past but her therapist insists she must confront it, withholding legal permission for Bree’s final operation until she has met the boy.
Bree grudgingly dips into her precious operation fund and flies to New York to bail Toby out of jail. Released to her without explanation, Toby assumes from Bree’s conservative appearance that she’s a Christian missionary who rescues street people by converting them to Jesus. Bree lets this misconception stand. When she learns that the grubby, disheveled Toby intends to skip bail and hitchhike to L.A. to break into X-rated videos and search for his real father, Bree panics. She doesn’t want him to interfere with her plans for a safe, quiet new life. She offers him a ride across country, secretly plotting to abandon him with the stepfather he ran away from. Toby accepts her offer, accustomed to adults offering him favors in exchange for sex.
As each lies to and manipulates the other, Bree and Toby find themselves traveling across the heartland of a continent on an unexpected journey-TRANSAMERICA.
TRANSAMERICA is written and directed by Duncan Tucker. The film is produced by Linda Moran and Rene Bastian of Belladonna Productions and by Sebastian Dungan. William H. Macy serves as executive producer.
The Making of Transamerica
“Would Bree watch Desperate Housewives? Yes, she would love it and throw Desperate Housewives parties. She might even consider going blonde.”
— Felicity Huffman
Huffman is that rare gifted actor who has demonstrated not only great range but also a fierce sense of independence in the roles she has chosen and created on stage and on the small and big screens.
Huffman is, after all, co-founder, with William H. Macy and David Mamet, of New York’s Atlantic Theatre Company. She has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe and Emmy awards for the tough women she has created on the acclaimed TV series “Sports Night” and “Desperate Housewives.” And she has done memorable supporting work in such acclaimed films as “The Spanish Prisoner” and “Magnolia.”
But with TRANSAMERICA, Huffman, for the first time, carries an entire feature film. Her portrayal of Bree, a conservative, biologically male transsexual “living stealth” in the days before her scheduled surgery, is a triumph of transformation, an astonishing example of how completely an actor can fearlessly disappear into the skin, and psyche, of another person.
TRANSAMERICA opens with startling sound and image: an attractive woman, looking right into the camera, modulates her voice from high to low. In a moment we realize this is a training video that Bree is watching, an exercise that is helping her more fully become a woman.
The opening also invites the audience to witness the transformation of a star of a wildly popular TV series into an almost unrecognizable character whose greatest desire is to avoid the notice of others.
The film’s writer-director, Duncan Tucker, says “Transamerica is subversive insofar as the main character is a transsexual woman, yet the film is not about transsexuality. It is at root an old-fashioned story about a parent, a child and the bonds of family.”
Huffman, who learned about Tucker’s offer for her to star in TRANSAMERICA while she was at the first table read for the “Desperate Housewives” pilot, adds that “Duncan told me, ‘it’s not a movie about what’s under your skirt.’”
Creating Bree, says Huffman, was about getting across the idea “That you feel alienated from your true being, that you feel you are an impostor.”
Did Huffman feel that taking the role was a risk?
“Risky, no, scary, yes,” she admits. “I didn’t think I could pull it off. I knew nothing about the transgender world. How does a woman go about becoming a man who is becoming a woman? Did I become a man first and then figure out how, as a man, I should let my inner woman out?”
Says producer Sebastian Dungan, “I think Felicity was fearless in playing Bree because there is always a risk of bring perceived differently or typecast when you play a role like Bree. But,” he continues, “ I also believe Felicity, as an artist, is dedicated to honesty and, as a person, loves a challenge. So, I don’t think she was worried about perception or glamour. She just saw a great part and dove into it.”
Adds Huffman, “Everyone has had experiences like the ones Bree has: being self-conscious on an excruciating level, not fitting in, wishing people could see you as you really are, having to hide your true self from those you love. True, gender dysphoric individuals experience this at an intense level, but it is still a truth of the human soul. If TRANSAMERICA can tell a story about that, it transforms it from an “issue movie” to a movie everyone can relate to because the characters’ struggles are true and universal. And those are the movies I want to watch.”
The makers of TRANSAMERICA had very firm ideas about the kind of actor they wanted for Bree.
“The casting of Bree was always one of the trickiest parts of putting together the film,” recalls Dungan. “Many people suggested we cast a male actor, but the last thing we wanted was for Bree to look like a man in women’s clothes. We felt it would be too difficult to make a man pass completely as a transsexual woman without costly and cumbersome prosthetics and makeup.”
Although Bree would be played by a woman, Huffman nonetheless went through a radical physical as well as emotional transformation to prepare for the part.
“I had to figure out the physicality of the role,” she recalls. “I met with two wonderful women, Andr√?