Social media blew up when it was announced in January that The L Word’s reboot was getting an eight-episode season that would be anchored by original cast members and executive producers Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig. Now the reboot has put out a casting call for trans actors. While there’s no indication of how pivotal the roles will be, it’s an important step for a series that was called out for transphobia during its original run.
— alex schmider (@anderfinn) April 24, 2019
The series, which premiered 15 years ago, was among the first to feature a regular trans character in Max (Daniela Sea). He was introduced in season 2 as a love interest for Mia Kirshner’s Jenny. The series chronicled his coming out as trans, and it did so with many missteps. Transphobia reared its head in the form of quips from characters who misgendered him and/or failed to take his identity seriously.
The original show also included the trans character Ivan, played by cisgender actress Kelly Lynch as a paramour for Pam Grier’s Kit Porter. Ivan’s depiction was also problematic.
Since The L Word ended in 2009, television producers have begun casting trans actors in roles on shows including Transparent, Pose, The Fosters, Shameless, Orange Is the New Black, and Supergirl.
The reboot, executive-produced by original creator Ilene Chaiken (Empire), which will be helmed by out playwright and screenwriter Marja Lewis Ryan (The Four-Faced Liar), is set to premiere late this year.
Soon after it was announced the series was moving forward, original cast member Sarah Shahi, who played the beloved Carmen, said she would be joining the reboot.
Other original L Word characters, including Tina (Laurel Holloman), Dana (Erin Daniels), and Jenny (Mia Kirshner), may also return for the reboot, although there’s no indication yet of how the writers will handle reincorporating Dana and Jenny, who were killed off in the original series. Grier has said she will not return for the show because she’s tied up with the series Bless This Mess.
Recently, Beals posted a photo of herself standing among a diverse group of writers in The L Word’s writers’ room.
“I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderfully inspiring it was to be in The L Word writers’ room with all these extraordinary, talented people,” Beals wrote. “Y’all are in for a great deep-dive-wild-ride.”