After the trailer for “Zoolander 2” hit the web, a cameo from Benedict Cumberbatch incited anger among the trans community. Currently, an petition pushes to boycott the movie and Justin Theroux — the screenwriter behind the long-awaited sequel — has spoken out regarding the controversy.
In the clip in question, Cumberbatch appears as All, an androgynous model who is questioned in a specific portion of dialogue, “I think he’s asking if you have a hotdog or a bun.” This is the moment which sparked the move of many to turn their backs on the film.
With over 21,000 signees to the petition in question, Theroux tells The Wrap, “I don’t even know what to make of it, because it hurts my feelings in a way. I take great care in the jokes I write, and the umbrage being taken is out of the context of the scene. I wish people would see the movie first. Satire is a thing that points out the idiots, and we went through it on Tropic Thunder with the ‘R’ word.”
The actor/writer’s feelings may indeed be hurt but so are a community of people who’s made some progress over the past few years. Theroux points out his goal is not to mock, by saying, “I’m all for letting words be ugly when the target is correct. With social media and all the rest of it, people’s issues need to be heard … at the end of the day, people are looking for bandwidth. People are looking for places to inject their voice. But our target is not, and never was, to disenfranchise anyone.”
The petition points to the remarks being the equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority. Which is interesting as Theroux received similar criticism from his “Tropic Thunder” script which featured Robert Downey Jr. in blackface throughout.
“Zoolander 2” stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell and will hit theaters everywhere on February 12, 2016.