Universal sorry after dubbing trans actress with man’s voice

Written by on May 14, 2021

Film giant Universal has apologised after it dubbed a character played by trans actress Laverne Cox with a man in some international versions of the Oscar-winning Promising Young Woman.

Cox, who shot to fame on the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black, plays coffee shop owner Gail in the film, and acts as manager and confidant to main character Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan.

After a clip of the Italian language version of the film appeared online, it was discovered that Cox’s voice was dubbed by actor Roberto Pedicini.

Laverne Cox and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. Pic: Focus Features
Image: Laverne Cox and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. Pic: Focus Features

There were also similar issues reported in the Spanish and German language versions of the film.

In a statement, Universal Studios (which is owned by Sky’s parent company Comcast), which handles the international distribution of the film, said: “We are deeply grateful to Laverne and the transgender community for opening our eyes to a bias that neither we, nor many in our industry, had recognized.

“While there was no malicious intent behind this mistake, we are working diligently to fix it.

“We have begun re-dubbing Ms Cox’s voice with female actors in our international territories and are pushing back release dates to ensure the correct version is available.

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“We are sorry for the pain caused but are thankful that we can address the situation on this film and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects.”

In Italy and Germany, the release of the film has been pushed back, to allow the re-dubbing to take place with women’s voices.

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The Spanish version has already been released in cinemas and on streaming platforms, but will now also be re-dubbed with a woman’s voice.

In the past, cisgender men (the term used for people who identify as the same gender that they were assigned at birth) have dubbed Laverne’s characters on projects such as Orange Is The New Black and The Mindy Project.

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Carey Mulligan on predatory behaviour

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman’s writer, won the best original screenplay award at the Oscars last month, with the movie’s lead, Carey Mulligan, earning a best actress nomination.

A Sky Original, Promising Young Woman is about a woman called Cassie who is out to avenge her friend who died after she was sexually assaulted at the hands of men in her medical school class, while navigating her own love life with Bo Burnham’s character Ryan.

The film is available to watch now on Sky Cinema and NOW.

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