Eli Stone may well be a victim of this year’s lengthy and destructive Writers Guild strike -- along with shows including Dirty Sexy Money and Lipstick Jungle, which all have grim futures after seeing their first seasons cut short following the strike -- but for boxer-body builder turned actor Dallas Malloy, the show was a career changer.
Malloy made history back in 1993 when, at just 16 years old, she filed a discrimination suit because females were excluded from amateur boxing. She won in court -- and in the ring -- and enjoyed a long and lucrative career in boxing and body building.
She later developed a passion for acting, but despite a brief appearance as herself in the film Jerry Maguire, gigs were few and far between -- until now. Cast as a female-to-male transgender minister who has been fired from his church and seeks the help of lawyer Eli Stone, Malloy called this the role of a lifetime. Trans, male, drag queen -- Malloy has heard it all while making the audition rounds, so relating to a character that was “just such a part of me” came easy.
And to think, given the current climate of television, the episode (airing Tuesday, December 30, at 10 p.m. Eastern) almost never saw the light of day.
Advocate.com:How did the gig on Eli Stone come about?Dallas Malloy: It was an audition I went on. My agent told me about it and said they were having trouble finding the right person, They wanted someone who looked very much in the middle gender-wise. So they wanted me to come in. It was just one of those things -- and the thing is, from the moment he told me the description of the character, he totally resonated with me. I just kind of fall in love [with a character] instantly; I’d just never had the sort of response I did with this one.
You just said something very interesting to me -- that they were looking for someone who was “in the middle” gender-wise. What do you mean by that? Well, I’m paraphrasing what my agent said. But they wanted someone who looked very androgynous and not specifically male or female. Even though I’m playing a transsexual male, they wanted someone who was very much in the middle.
Your history is so rich in the ways you might relate to this character. Through your history with boxing, you obviously know what it’s like to be discriminated against for your sex. How did that play into how you approached the character? That’s just such a part of me ... the way I see it, you go through life, and every experience helps to shape you. And, in some instances, make or break you. A lot of it, I think, is subconscious -- I didn’t have to think about anything specifically; it’s just a part of me. I’ve always stood up for what I believe in, and to me, it’s a nonissue. That just never makes sense to me, discrimination like that. To me, the character’s passionate about what he wants -- he wants to help others, but he has to be true to himself, and he felt he had to complete this transition in order to be who he was born to be. In some people’s eyes that’s controversial. To me, it’s not -- it’s very simple. He just did what he had to do. It’s the same with me and boxing. I mean, I’m honored to have been the one to take that pass -- maybe someone else wouldn’t have taken it on -- but see, I can’t even imagine that. I’ve never stopped when I wanted to pursue something I loved.