Matrix director Lana Wachowski promotes new film after transition

Via The Advocate

The director of my favorite movie The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded (real Matrix fans like me pretend the third movie in the trilogy doesn’t exist) has transitioned and is the first director in tinsletown to come out as transgender.

Lana Wachowski announced that she was transitioning nearly a decade ago but now in promotions for a new film out October 26th named Cloud Atlas, she is seen with her brother and Matrix co-director Andy Wachowski, gearing up for the new film.  Lana appears in the trailer announcement with pink locked hair and a beaming and contagious smile.

Check out Lana’s big announcement below (if anyone can find a transcript to put in the comments I will be forever in your debt):

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10 Comments

  1. Posted July 31, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This inspired me to go view the trailer for Cloud Atlas, which is completely baffling and incredible to me.

    I hope the full film is good! I watched The Matrix completely cold, knowing nothing going in, and was blown away. Tom Tykwer, the director who is not one of the Wachowski siblings, wrote and directed Run Lola Run, which I really enjoy and which revolves around an awesome female lead character.

  2. Posted July 31, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I am reposting this from my Facebook account. I just posted it as a rant-y status update. I feel, however, it warrants a share here.

    Some context – I am a trans woman, a musician and feminist activist, and I do education and organizing for trans women/trans community stuff as well.

    Here’s what I posted on facebook, with a link to this article:

    “I am sick of the world right now.

    Lana came out years ago. Can’t she appear in a trailer promoting a movie without the world freaking out? She’s not coming out, she’s not revealing anything. Hasn’t she been living in the world and going out, and aren’t there all these pictures of her from the last 10 years? Why is this such a big deal? She went on camera? OOOOOOOO!

    So she’s trans. So she appears in a promo spot for a movie. She’s been out for years and everyone who is a fan of her movies ought to know that she’s trans by now, and if somebody doesn’t it’s not even all that relevant (as in not relevant at all) to her movies. Why then do (even fairly progressive) media still hark back to her old name. Why do they freak out about her trans-ness when she makes a movie?

    This video has NOTHING to do with her transition. She’s not like ‘I’M LANA AND I’M TRANS, HERE IS MY DEAL.” Nope. She introduces herself the same way that the other two people in the video do (the co-directors of Cloud Atlas). It’s a video about Cloud Atlas. It’s not about Lana, it’s not about her transition, and it’s not some big reveal. Can’t she do normal director things without everyone going “LOOK AT THE TRANSSEXUAL WOOOOOOOOOOAH!!!!”

    Can we please stop this crap. Sensationalizing women’s transitions while erasing their work is super fucked up. Putting a woman’s old name in a headline after she’s been out for like 10 years is totally busted. Ignoring what a trans woman is talking about and talking about how she’s trans instead is erasure and is a form of sensationalization.

    I think Lana’s pretty cool. She makes good movies. It’s cool to have a trans lady making awesome art that is respected and appreciated by lots of people. I am totally going to see Cloud Atlas when it comes out. But articles like this one make my stomach churn. Seriously “LETS TALK ABOUT HER SMILE AND HOW GREAT SHE LOOKS AND HER HAIR OMG.” How is this on a feminist website? I don’t even…

    Some days I just get so tired.”

  3. Posted July 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s been known for a few years now that Lana has transitioned. She has been pretty private about the whole thing, though, so publicly saying “Hi, I’m Lana” and getting officially credited as Lana in the credits of her work is new.

    And yay Lana! :D

  4. Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Transcript starting from the first snap of whatever that thing is. It wasn’t easy with all the cuts mid-sentence and fast pacing, so I’d appreciate if errors were pointed out.
    Lana (L): Hi, I’m Lana
    Tom (T): I’m Tom
    Andy (A): I’m Andy
    T: *sigh* one more time
    L: Hi, I’m Lana
    T: I’m Tom
    A: I’m Andy
    T: so, they asked us to do an introduction
    A: to try and explain how this happened
    L: I think uh…
    T: I think it started as a joke
    A: ehhh, why don’t we make a movie together?
    L: but
    T: it became this ongoing fantasy
    A: it had to be something we had never seen before
    L: but it had to remind us of the kind of movies we watched over and over
    T: the kind of movies that
    A: made us want to watch movies
    L: big screen movies!
    A: massive in scope, but
    T: relevant to normal life, to human beings.
    L: it would have drama and comedy
    A: we wanted romance
    T: romance
    A: but it had to be political
    L: philisophical
    A: lots of action
    T: lots of action
    L: lots of action
    T: set in the past
    L: and the future
    T: every genre
    A: why keep genres separated?
    T: the bigger the fantasy got, the more ridiculous it seemed
    L: until
    A: this book
    T: this book
    A: and the moment each of us read it, …
    L: we knew
    T: this was it
    L: we all saw this
    T: amazing opportunity
    A: to use the entire cast in multiple roles.
    L: We love actors! We saw this chance to have them play not just different characters
    T: but different ages
    L: different races
    A: different genders
    T: representing a core concept of the book
    L: an idea of connectedness
    A: and karma. Each character
    T: inheriting the consequences
    L: of their lives
    T: It took us about a year to write the script
    L: I was extremely nervous to meet David Mitchell after he read the script
    A: but we all took an oath that if he didn’t like it
    T: we would kill the project
    L: fortunately, he loved it
    T: gave us his blessing.
    A: That was of course when everything went wrong
    L: *popping noise*
    T: Our bubble burst
    A: *somber whistle* even though we had this incredible cast
    T: no one was interested
    L: the experts all said it was too complicated
    T: and three directors?
    L: how is that going to work?
    A: (impersonating the experts) Three directors!? That’s never gonna work!!
    T: It still took another year
    L: Warner Bros finally gave in
    A: and agreed to, uh, distribute domestically, but the movie is really an independent production
    L: financed by people from all over the world
    A: unfortunately, in one way the experts were right
    L: the movie is hard to sell
    T: because it’s hard to describe
    A: it’s hard to reduce
    T: so we decided to make a really
    L: really
    A: really long trailer
    T: and just put it out there.
    A: We hope you like it.
    L: Come see the film
    A: I think we nailed it (laugter from the others, and from behind the camera)
    L: I think it’s a one-taker (laughter continues)

  5. Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Seriously. What Kelly said. Lana’s been out for years and this video has nothing to do with her being trans. I can understand wanting to be like “hey! This awesome trans woman that i totally respect has a new movie coming out and it’s relevant that i’m mentioning that she’s trans because there are so few trans women in hollywood.” BUT, the way you’ve phrased this article makes it sound like the news is that she’s transitioned (OMG can u blieve it?), not that she has a new movie. Then you go on to talk about her appearance, which (even though you’re probably intending to say nice things about her appearance) makes it sound as if the most important thing about this trailer is how she looks (“just like a ‘real’ girl!”), not what she’s saying. Microaggression-ville here we come!

    I imagine that this effect was unintentional, since i’m sure you’re familiar with how shitty it feels to have what you’re saying erased in favor of how you look, but that’s exactly what microaggressions are: unintentionally harmful actions that nevertheless invalidate a group’s identity and cause ppl of that identity (and their allies) daily pain because of their unrelenting frequency. Zerlina, I feel pretty certain that this wasn’t your intention, and I know that you personally aren’t responsible for the unfortunate history feministing has had with not being a safe space for trans folks, but given this blog’s history, I think a demonstrably heartfelt/horrorstruck/genuine apology in a follow up post would go a long way towards making your trans readers feel less alienated and othered.

  6. Posted July 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Having looked at this article a bit more closely, I notice that your url still uses what I can only assume was your original title for this post: “Matrix Director Larry Waschowski Reveals Transition to Lana.” Kelly’s already pointed out why this is a problem, so I won’t go into it. But given that the title of the post is now different from that, it appears that you saw Kelly’s comment pointing out how problematic this article & title are, and then decided to amend the title.

    Perhaps you’re just busy and are intending to come back to this later with a fuller response (I know what it’s like to be busy), however at this moment, leaving it like this gives the impression that you think the problem has been solved by changing the title and that apologizing isn’t necessary. This runs the risk of giving the impression that you’ve made changes to placate/humor folks, but that you don’t really understand or perhaps don’t care that you’ve hurt people.

    Please understand that I know that you’re busy and that causing hurt was probably unintentional, however I cannot emphasize enough that this is a huge problem and that it needs to be addressed stat before the hurt feelings within feministing’s trans community spread too far and turn to rage and alienation. A horrorstruck apology in another post would go a long way towards showing that you understand why this is a problem and that it’s not going to happen again. It could be a chance for all of us to reflect on how microaggressions function in society, as well as how we react & cope both when we’re targets of microaggressions and when someone points out to us that we’ve been the microaggressor. How do we address microaggressions and heal in a way that grows community instead of tearing us apart? Please think about it.

  7. Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with Kelly that it is a bit odd to have this article when it seems that Ms. Wachowski herself doesn’t seem to care. Though perhaps that’s why she’s now appearing before and camera, she’s gotten used to being “Lana”. Watching this video you wouldn’t guess that there are any Transgender people present.

    I have to wonder what the chances are for somebody who is transgender, and starts that transition well before starting their career, what their chances of getting into Hollywood would be? This woman obviously made a big, big hit BEFORE starting any sort of transition, so Hollywood could accept the person just as easily as her brother at the time and give them the chance to make “The Matrix”, meanwhile rejecting someone who is already established is less likely. I wonder if she would have made it if she made that transition earlier.

  8. Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am myself Transgender. Lana is a respected member of the film industry. I am proud that there is an out film director.
    However, she has more in common with Angelina Jolie than any Trans woman who is sweating to make a living. In this country, class is more important than gender or gender identity. She has made one of most successful and influential films of all time (8.7 on imdb.) Someone with this wealth and influence has publicity agents. They thought long and hard about how to use this to promote her most recent film. The rest of us can eat cake. I also agree with the previous poster. My Indian producer was revolted when I “came out” to him. He was very excited about filming my last script last March. I haven’t heard from him since. It is a sad fact that most “successful” TG women were once successful men.

  9. Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused by folks’ problem with this post. I do think it’s weird that the media in general is making such a big deal out of this video, since Lana’s been out for ages and it’s not the video’s topic. But it is a big deal to transition in public, and it is a big deal to re-introduce yourself to the world in video form. The Wachowski’s have been notoriously private directors, and this is a big, brave public step for Lana to take. And for folks who aren’t closely following trans-related news, this is their introduction to Lana on her own terms. There have been some posts about this that read as “Look! That Matrix director’s a chick now!” But Zerlina’s focused on the fact that Lana’s the first major out trans director in Hollywood. Personally, I find it exciting to see trans women succeeding in a world that constantly puts us down, and I think it’s worth highlighting these positive stories. If I’d written this post I wouldn’t have mentioned Lana’s appearance, but that’s one sentence. I don’t personally have a problem with the overall take away – Lana’s out and trans, and good for her!

    The original headline, which was copied from a post on another site and accidentally left on the article, was changed when I noticed it and pointed it out.

  10. Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    @Jos – part of the problem I have is that the article has three sentences of substance and a lead-in to the video. One is about her appearance, and that’s a third of post.

    That is part of what creates an overall feel that I get when reading this that we are being presented with a coming out video that mentions the upcoming film, when really the video is just about the film.

    It’s all about the delivery in a situation like this, I guess. If the article had been something about how Lana Wachowski has made a new film and here’s a video about the movie, and isn’t it cool that she’s a trans woman making Hollywood blockbusters, that would be rad. Positive news about trans artists is great to get.

    Instead the takeaway I get is essentially Lana Wachowski is trans and we get to see what she looks like post transition in a video for the first time! Doesn’t she look great with her hair and smile! PS she made a new movie.

    It feels like it is something that was posted in a hurry because it was being reported everywhere, and not something that was done with much intent, especially when the title had her name wrong when I first saw the post (I understand hurries and mistakes). I do generally expect more from Feministing, and Zerlina’s work is consistently very good. This post just feels off in lots of ways, almost like it was just trying to get on the bandwagon of reporting something everyone else was reporting poorly. I came to Feministing hoping that there would be a post about the film and even maybe an article about how screwed up most of the reporting on it was, but instead it was the same sort of post as everywhere else.

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