Taglines: A family in transition.
Family living under one roof in New York must deal with a life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all. Ray is a teenager who has come to the realization that he isn’t meant to be a girl and has decided to transition from female to male.
His single mother, Maggie, must track down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition. Dolly, Ray’s lesbian grandmother, is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. They must each confront their own identities and learn to embrace change and their strength as a family in order to ultimately find acceptance and understanding.
4 Generations is an American drama film directed by Gaby Dellal and written by Nikole Beckwith and Dellal. The film stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, Tate Donovan and Sam Trammell. It premiered in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Initially slated to be released in September 2015, the film, then titled About Ray, was pulled from the schedule days before its intended release. The film is scheduled to be released on May 5, 2017, by The Weinstein Company.
Interview with Director Gaby Dellal
This could be a rough few months for LGBT representation in cinema. Earlier today we previewed the 5 major LGBT films coming out this fall, including one that is already igniting a lot of controversy (“Stonewall,” in case you’ve been offline for the past few weeks). Now it looks like another one of those films could prove problematic to those it represents.
Gaby Dellal gave an interview to Refinery29 about the upcoming “About Ray,” an inter-generational story focusing on a transgender boy (Elle Fanning) and his supportive mother (Noami Watts) and grandmother (Susan Sarandon). And unlike a recent interview in which Eddie Redmayne (who plays a transgender woman in another fall release, “The Danish Girl”) offered thoughtful and respectful words on the community he’s representing, Dellal presented herself quite problematically. Co-writer of the film as well, she admitted that just three and a half years ago she was largely unaware of the subject matter in her film.
“Three and a half years ago that was news to me,” she says. In her mind, “we all think we’re working in a generation where transgender issues are very normal — ” i.e., covered by mainstream media — “but I don’t think they were as little as three years ago. They weren’t as transparent. I’m not saying they didn’t exist, but I didn’t know about them.”
She used female pronouns to describe Ray and defended her casting of a cisgender actress (Fanning) with some very poor choices of words: “The part is a girl and she is a girl who is presenting in a very ineffectual way as a boy,” Dellal explains. “She’s not pretending to have a deeper voice. She’s just a girl who is being herself and is chasing the opportunity to start hormone treatment. So to actually use a trans boy was not an option because this isn’t what my story is about.”
In our mind, Dellal seems to be presenting herself as someone trying to capitalize on trans issues being ‘popular’ without know what she’s talking about. You can read the whole interview here and let us know what you think. “About Ray” is having its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and debuts in theaters in September. Here’s hoping it proves more sensitive than Dellal’s interview.
3 Generations – About Ray (2017)
Directed by: Gaby Dellal
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Linda Emond, Andrew Polk, Marcos A. Gonzalez, Antonio Ortiz, Tessa Albertson, Elle Winter, Francesca Keller, Lucca De Oliveira
Screenplay by: Nikole Beckwith, Gaby Dellal
Production Design by: Stephanie Carroll
Cinematography by: David Johnson
Film Editing by: Jeff Betancourt, Joe Landauer
Costume Design by: Arjun Bhasin
Set Decoration by: Philippa Culpepper
Art Direction by: Meredith Lippincott
Music by: Michael Brook, West Dylan Thordson
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: May 5, 2017