Chloë Sevigny may identify as straight, but that has never kept her from taking on some of the queerest roles we’ve ever seen on screen.
Thank heaven for that.
Tonight is the U.S. debut of yet another edgy role for Sevigny, as she stars as Mia, a pre-op transgender hit woman, in the new British series Hit & Miss. (If you missed the musical clip Bridget posted a few days ago, watch it immediately.)
The series is set in Northern England, where Mia learns that she has a son that she fathered a decade earlier. Now that the mother has died, Mia is legal guardian of a boy she’s never met, along with his half-siblings. Here’s a clip.
Don’t let the somewhat cliché plot put you off — this is not your transitioned father’s TV show. Hit & Miss is darkly atmospheric and often shocking; within the first few minutes, we see Mia’s first hit, after which she strips off her clothes — completely. Hello, Prosthetic Peter.
“Being around the men on set, being naked, and having [the prosthetic] on, I just felt insecure and uncomfortable,” Sevigny told Out. “Plus the process to put it on was very involved. I had to shave myself, it’s glued on, painted, like any prosthetic. It’s not fun to have someone right up in your private parts,” she deadpans before letting out her hooting laugh, a signature Chloë-ism.
“I think the root of why I was so upset with having it on was that I wasn’t fully trusting of the producers and directors. Now I can rest assured, because I’ve seen it, and it’s not gratuitous. It shouldn’t be a show about a f—ing penis.”
Sevigny had to go through a lot of preparation for Hit & Miss, including firearms training, kickboxing lessons, and accent coaching.
But her biggest concern was something else.
“I was worried people would be angry that they didn’t cast a real person who was transitioning,” Sevigny says. “I asked why they didn’t, and the producers said they didn’t find the right person. It’s a big responsibility toward that community, and I wanted to do them right.”
She talked to Sky Atlantic, which broadcast the series in the UK this spring, about preparation to play a transgender woman.
Salon.com asked Sevigny if she thinks perception of the transgender community has changed in the 13 years since Boys Don’t Cry.
“I’m not in that community so I can’t answer for it, but I think the gay and lesbian community has made huge strides. Even in Manchester, there are meetings for transgender people. I tried to go into one of them and they wouldn’t let me in. There would be people outside mocking them, and there would be people on the street catcalling them. I know what that’s like having people criticize you and I know what it’s like to have people say rude things. But I can’t imagine what it’s like having people yelling at you on the street.”
She hopes the LGBT community will feel like the portrayal is a positive one.
“It’s been such a responsibility to the community. That was one of the hardest aspects of it. Will people like it? Will they accept it? Ultimately, anything that can help increase sensitivity toward people is a good thing. I think we all have to try to be a bit kinder to each other – gay, trans and straight.”
With heartwarming scenes like this one between Mia and her son, I expect the community will love Hit & Miss as much as we already love Chloë.
Hit & Miss airs tonight on DIRECTV Audience Channel 239. Check the website for local airtime. Those of us with other providers will have to rely on the kindness of subscribers.
Are you a Chloë Sevigny fan? Do you want to see Hit & Miss? If you saw the series in the UK, give us a review.