On its surface, (Re)Assignment, formerly titled Tomboy, is just an action movie with a unique twist, but that twist has already stirred negative reactions to the film in which Michelle Rodriguez takes on a gender-altered character. (Re)Assignment tells the story of assassin for hire Frank Kitchen (Rodriguez), who ends up at the mercy of The Doctor (Sigourney Weaver) through a double cross committed by rival assassins. The Doctor knocks Frank out and performs gender reassignment surgery on him, turning Michelle’s character into a transgender woman named Tomboy. The conflict Michelle has faced from critics of (Re)Assignment is as troubling as the danger her character faces in the film, but, like Tomboy, Rodriguez isn’t one to take the heat without firing back.
(Re)Assignment Star Michelle Rodriguez Defends Her Tomboy
Fox News Latino has shared a post created by Michelle Rodriguez in which the (Re)Assignment star talks about her reasons for participating the film. For her part, Rodriguez describes the flick as a “B movie” action adventure and expresses her own feelings about accusations that (Re)Assignment promotes transphobia. The Instagram post shows Ms. Rodriguez getting made up for her scenes as the male character, Frank Kitchen. Michelle is seen donning a mustache and full beard with her breasts seemingly in the process of getting taped down or restrained. Rodriguez’s lengthy caption begins by sharing her preference for the Tomboy title over the current (Re)Assignment title.
“I never felt more like a woman than when I played a man. For the rest of the film I was a man stuck in a newly operated sex changed body,” writes Ms. Rodriguez in describing the experience. “I had fake boob covers to look like man implants & I wore a fake hairy ‘mangina’ which you can’t really see cause they made it so hairy.”
Michelle goes on to say that she doesn’t regret taking the role, because she feels Hollywood currently lacks imaginative, controversial film themes.
“…sometimes it makes me want to scream, instead I did what I always do when I’m bored with the ‘status quo’, I shot crazy b movie Indy to express my frustration,” wrote (Re)Assignment‘s Rodriguez.
Michelle went on to detail how she might have embraced her character further, if she’d had more time to prepare for the role. Ms. Rodriguez says she would have liked to gain more weight, giving Frank a more manly appearance.
“I feel that my skinny build sometimes comes off hermaphoditic in the film, especially when you add the crazy male chest for the nude sequences,” added Rodriguez.
Michelle closed her post with the hope that audiences and her fans would all enjoy (Re)Assignment, once it finally hits theaters.
Critics Continue To Attack Michelle Rodriguez For Defending (Re)Assignment
Heheheh at TIFF promoting 'TomBoy A Revengers Tale' producers are convinced the new movie title should be re-assignment but I'll stick to the title I signed on to shoot... 'Tomboy'. It's in the B Movie genre, a culture shock pic, shot like a 'film Noir' graphic novel. I played a male assassin for four days in the movie, boy was that beard itchy. Then out revenge, a twisted Doctor played by Sigourney Weaver decides to take my character's manhood away with a sex change to teach him a lesson. I never felt more like a woman than when I played a man. For the rest of the film I was a man stuck in a newly operated sex changed body. I had fake boob covers to look like man implants & I wore a fake hairy 'mangina' which you can't really see cause they made it so hairy. In retrospect I'm I glad took the plunge, the industry seems to be running low on edgy creativity & 'real take a chance' controversy, sometimes it makes me want to scream, instead I did what I always do when I'm bored with the 'status quo', I shot crazy b movie Indy to express my frustration. I wish I had more than a few weeks to prepare for this flic, I would have gained a lot more weight, & we would have made some hairy arms to match my Mediterranean look. I feel that my skinny build sometimes comes off hermaphoditic in the film, especially when you add the crazy male chest for the nude sequences. Lol hope y'all will enjoy the flic sometime, when we sell it of course... It's interesting to say the least.
Professional film critics aren’t the only ones lambasting Michelle Rodriguez’s character in (Re)Assignment. The Guardian reports that the film has stirred strong responses from those fortunate enough to have caught the premiere viewing at the Toronto International Film Festival. One general viewer has since commented that (Re)Assignment was so insulting that it should be recommended as a teaching tool in film schools for what not to do, while Elizabeth Marie Rivera, an activist for the transgender community has shared a much stronger opinion of the film.
“[(Re)Assignment is] a f—ed up and twisted ‘transgender’ trope that is being forced down our throat,” Rivera wrote in her review.
Even Perez Hilton was forthcoming with criticism for the film, as well as for Michelle Rodriguez, herself.
“We get where she’s coming from, but there’s a huge difference between creative edginess and exploiting gender reassignment as a plot device for an action flick.”
An Instagram user responded directly to Rodriguez on her post, suggesting that taking on a person forced into a transgender lifestyle was reinforcing the status quo, instead of rebelling against it.
Earlier, before the T.I.F.F. premiere of the film, Michelle had responded to early critics, who were already calling attention to the use of a transgender character as a plot device. In that response, Ms. Rodriguez pointed to the fact that (Re)Assignment is just a fun, action-packed B movie and not intended to make any kind of social commentary.
“It’s an entertainment piece. Calm down guys, I’m on your team,” Michelle Rodriguez said, referring to her own bisexuality.
[Featured Image by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images]