Universal Pictures has issued an apology to Laverne Cox for using a male actor has her Italian-language dub for the Italian version of Promising Young Woman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures Italy released a promo clip of the film featuring Roberto Pedicini, an Italian voice-over actor, performing as Cox’s character Gail. Universal was forced to address the situation after sustaining backlash from Twitter.
The Hollywood Reporter cites that Vittoria Schisano, an Italian trans actor on screen and in voice-over work, told The Guardian that she wasn’t asked to voice Gail for the Italian-language version of the film, despite having worked as Cox’s dub in Amend: The Fight for America. She called the decision to have Pedicini voice Gail was a “straight-up act of violence.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures International told The Guardian in a statement that they are “sorry” for offending transgender viewers, saying it was “deeply grateful” for viewers “opening our eyes to a bias that neither we nor many in our industry had recognized.” While it claimed there was “no malicious intent” behind hiring a male actor for Cox’s role, it said “we are working diligently to fix it.” This includes postponing the May 13 Italian release to re-record Cox’s lines with a female voice actor. Other versions of Promising Young Woman in Germany and Spain will also be re-recorded with female voice actors instead of the male actors the dubs originally used.
The studio said that it is “thankful” to address the scandal “and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects.”
Cox spoke about her role in Promising Young Woman to Shadow And Act in Dec. 2020. She said she was happy to play roles that expanded her growth as an actor and weren’t specifically written as trans characters.
“I’m just really grateful that in two different films that I’ve [been in] this year–this and Bad Hair–that I play characters that were not written as trans,” she said. “They are characters that are, you know just characters. I mean, I guess it could be trans or not, I guess Gail could potentially be trans, but she wasn’t written that way.”