Transsexual Star Scores In Wheelchair Dancing Movie
"Life as a black transsexual cripple--it's way too interesting to me," deadpans Laverne Cox as Chantelle in Susan Seidelman's Musical Chairs, a really warm, expertly done flick that brings us into the world of "chair dancing," ballroom style.
Laverne Cox and I. Photo by William Love
I saw the deeply romantic dance-ical at the Miami International Film Festival the other night and was delighted to find Laverne (known from VH1's Transform Me) in a major role, as a disabled transsexual who learns all new moves.
She's "ready to roll," if you catch my drift.
Laverne is fabulous as she tells off a hater, inspires a new cripple to shine, and brings on the costumers (like drag comic Hedda Lettuce), whose big line is "Can you direct me to your ballroom?"
"I wanted to get up a lot [during filming]," Laverne revealed at the festival, "but I tried to stay seated, to commit to Chantelle's experience."
DeNiro would be proud. (And I bet he'd like Laverne, by the way.)
At an after-dinner, Laverne and I were seated together--as it were--so I asked her how she convinced Seidelman she could chair dance.
"I'd never done it before," Laverne admitted, "so it was one of those things of faking it."
That's how I've gotten most of my jobs.
Laverne's mother happened to be seated there too, so I asked what Laverne was like a child.
"Nerd!" she blurted.
Unbelievable. It's amazing what pumps and the right shade of blush can do.
Anyway, do see this film if you like a formula show biz/love story with several lovely twists.
It got a teary standing ovation at the festival. Everyone leapt to their feet, cheering those who can't do so.