Gender-Flipping on TV: What’s Gained When a Male Character Is Reimagined as Female

IndieWire | 4/19/2018 | Staff
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What’s old is new again, and that includes the practice of gender-flipping a role. Commonly seen in folk tales and comic book properties, the practice has been a staple on the big screen (“Ghostbusters,” “Oceans 8”) and gaining popularity on TV, especially when it comes to reimagining male characters as female.

Swapping a character’s gender often occurs in the process of remaking or reimagining a pre-existing story. The most recent example on TV is the casting of Parker Posey to portray the villainous Dr. Smith on Netflix’s reboot of “Lost in Space.” The role was originated by Jonathan Harris in the ‘60s-era Irwin Allen series.

Gender-flipping - Process - Character - Case - Lawyer

But gender-flipping can also occur in the process of creating a new character. In the case of lawyer Jeri Hogarth on “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” the production started by crafting a female character and then retrofitting her with an identity from Marvel. That’s how Jeryn Hogarth, a male attorney to the Heroes for Hire, transformed into the female attorney Jeri Hogarth, played by Carrie-Anne Moss.

“We’d created the character, wrote, and even cast Carrie-Anne before we choose the Hogarth name from the catalog,” series creator Melissa Rosenberg told IndieWire in an email. “Using the name didn’t change anything about the character whatsoever.”

Reverse - Process - Legion - Creator - Noah

In a reverse of the process, “Legion” creator Noah Hawley had at first conceived of Lenny Busker as an older male character, but after meeting with Aubrey Plaza, offered her the role instead. According to an interview with IndieWire, Plaza said she’d accept the role as long as the dialogue didn’t change to reflect the gender switch.

But why do this at all? Here’s a breakdown of what’s to be gained from switching male characters to female.

Remakes - Actor - Interpretation - Role

Where remakes are concerned, sometimes the original actor has created such an iconic interpretation of the role that it would overshadow those who...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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