Star Wars actor Diego Luna is set to star as a transgender woman in Berlin, I Love You.
The Mexican actor, director and producer will star alongside Helen Mirren, Kiera Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Jim Sturgess, Diana Agron and Hayden Panettiere in the upcoming romantic comedy.
Luna is best known for his roles in Y tu mamá también, Milk, Rudo y Cursi, and Rogue One.
Unsurprisingly, news of his casting has been controversial. Over the past year, several cisgender actors have been slammed for accepting trans roles, because trans actors struggle to get any roles in mainstream media.
Back in July, Johansson stepped down from playing transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill in the upcoming biopic Rub and Tug, after receiving widespread backlash from the LGBTQ community.
“In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” she said in a statement.
“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.
“I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”
The Australian actress – who was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a lesbian in Carol (2015) – told The Hollywood Reporter that she disagrees with the notion that straight actors can’t portray characters without having shared experiences.
She confidently said: “It also speaks to something that I’m quite passionate about in storytelling generally, but in film specifically, which is that film can be quite a literal medium.
“And I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience. I think reality television and all that that entails had an extraordinary impact, a profound impact on the way we view the creation of character.
“I think it provides a lot of opportunity, but the downside of it is that we now, particularly in America, I think, we expect and only expect people to make a profound connection to a character when it’s close to their experience.”
Russell Tovey also came out in defence of straight actors playing LGBTQ roles, telling The Telegraph: “If you’re an actor, you’re an actor. The whole thing with Jack [Whitehall] playing a gay character… I’m like, just let him act.”
Last year, Glee and The Assassination of Gianni Versace actor Darren Criss revealed that he won’t play queer roles in the future.
“There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful,” he told Bustle. “But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
Darren said it’s been “a real joy” playing the aforementioned characters – including Hedwig in the Broadway musical of the same name – but said he now doesn’t feel comfortable playing them.
He called it “unfortunate”, but explained further: “The reason I say that is because getting to play those characters is inherently a wonderful dramatic experience. It has made for very, very compelling and interesting people.”
Watch the trailer for Berlin, I Love You below.