The two-almost-three-minute trailer for the much-awaited “Zoolander Two” movie was welcomed sensationally, after more than a decade-long wait since the first film came out. However, the stir has also created a call for a boycott.
The controversy is centered on a character portrayal of “All,” an androgynous supermodel that Benedict Cumberbatch, the Sherlock star, plays.
As shown in the “Zoolander Two” trailer, Ben Stiller questions, “Are you like, a male model or a female model?” Owen Wilson’s character then asks the model, “Do you have a hot dog or a bun?”
The character is “clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority,” said Sara Rose, who created the online petition for the film which also stars Ben Stiller in his reprisal of the lead role of Derek Zoolander.
Rose goes on to comment on the film’s trailer, “If the producers and screenwriters of Zoolander wanted to provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry, they could have approached models like Andreja Pejic to be in the film. By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large.”
She finally enjoins the LGBTQ community to “Tell Paramount Pictures, Ben Stiller, and Benedict Cumberbatch that mocking transgender/androgyne/gender fluid individuals is not okay—sign this petition to pledge to boycott the film!”
As of Nov. 20, she has already collected more than 5,800 signatures on her petition.
At an earlier point after the trailer release, much interest was generated by the “death” of Justin Bieber. The trailer showed Penelope Cruz working with former runway competitors trying to work out who is killing “the world’s most beautiful people,” Bieber, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and Usher.
The film is yet to be released on Feb. 16, 2016 and yet it seems to have already met with some critical acclaim.