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Oh, Mark Ruffalo. So talented, so handsome, such great hair, but sometimes....he just doesn’t get it. Like right now. Because Mark Ruffalo produced a movie about trans people — but he didn’t cast or consult any trans people.

The film, Anything, stars Matt Bomer, who is a cis man, as a trans woman sex worker. The film is an adaptation of a play by the same name by Tim McNeill.

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Earlier this week, several trans women actresses called out Ruffalo and Bomer on Twitter. Jen Richards, who writes, produces and stars in the web series Her Story (a BUST fav), tweeted that she had auditioned for another role in the movie and had told the filmmakers not to cast cis people as trans characters, but had been ignored. She criticized Hollywood for continuously casting cis men to play trans women in projects such as Dallas Buyers Club, Transparent and The Danish Girl. Richards said that casting cis men to play trans women not only excludes trans actresses but also incites violence against trans women because, as Richards puts it, those casting choices “exacerbate the cultural belief that trans women are really men, which is the root of violence against us.” (Her tweets are well worth reading in full, and you can do so here.)

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Jamie Clayton, who stars in the Wachowski sisters’ Netflix series Sense8 — meaning that she’s a trans actress playing a trans character in a series written and directed by two trans women — also tweeted at Ruffalo and Bomer. “I really hope you both choose to do some actual good for the trans community one day,” she wrote. The Mary Sue writes that Bomer blocked her on Twitter after she sent the tweet, then un-blocked her shortly afterwards. Not a good look, Bomer. 

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Ruffalo responded to Richards’ tweets, writing, “To the Trans community. I hear you. It's wrenching to you see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It's time. In all honesty I suggested Matt for the role after the profound experience I had with him while making ‘The Normal Heart.’” He later tweeted to another Twitter user, “The movie is already shot and Matt poured his heart and soul into this part. Please have a little compassion. We are all learning.”

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Several suggested Ruffalo’s statements were too little, too late, but Richards graciously responded, “Thank you @MarkRuffalo, this means a lot. I would love to talk to you about it, and how to move forward positively.”

Let’s hope Ruffalo — and all of Hollywood — learns something from this, and starts casting trans actors to play trans characters.

Top photo: Spotlight

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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at erikawsmith@bust.com.

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