Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


-- film -- southern comfort

Strangely enough, I don't have tons to say, given that peculiarly evocative headline, and the interesting remark by Cumming.

1490 WBEX - Spacek And Cumming Have Transsexual Sex

OSCAR-winning actress Sissy Spacek and co-star Alan Cumming have transsexual sex in a controversial new movie.

In Southern Comfort - not related to Walter Hill's classic 1981 film of the same name - the 54-year-old actress plays Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual who falls for Lola Cola, a male-to-female transsexual, played by Cumming.

Carrie star Spacek, who wears a prosthetic nose and a beard in the movie, is delighted with her new role, reports website

She says, "I'm thrilled, but it's going to be hard. I'll do the best I can. If I go down in flames, I can throw away all of my men's clothes."

X-Men star Cumming, is equally enthusiastic: "It's such an amazing, tender love story, and a great challenge. We've got to do sex."

Notably, the article doesn't mention that the movie is based on a documentary of the same name.

Next Weve Films: Southern Comfort: SOUTHERN COMFORT is a 90-minute feature-length documentary about the life of Robert Eads, a 52-year-old female to male transsexual who lives in the back hills of Georgia. "A hillbilly and proud of it," he cuts a striking figure: sharp-tongued, bearded, tobacco pipe in hand. Robert passes so well as a male that the local Klu Klux Klan tried to recruit him to become a member.

Though his home is nestled among tranquil hills dotted with hay bales, Robert confronts a world as hostile to him as if he were an African American in the ante-bellum South. He was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, then turned away by more than two dozen doctors who feared that taking on a transgendered patient might harm their practice.

SOUTHERN COMFORT follows the final year of Robert Eads' life. Beginning in spring, he falls deeply in love with Lola, a male-to-female. That summer, his mother and father drive ten hours to visit their "lost daughter," a trip they know may be their last. His final dream is to make it to the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, the nation's preeminent transgender gathering. Beating the odds, he addresses a crowd of 500 and takes Lola to "The prom that never was.".....

The documentary was shown on HBO in 2001, as the page notes. It will be interesting to see how they manage the casting; many of Eads' friends were also transsexuals.

Eads died of ovarian cancer. Ironically, when asked about having a complete hysterectomy, the doctor apparently advised against it; it was a lot of surgery to go through for organs that were no longer really functioning anyway. Of course, had the hysterectomy been done, Eads would likely still be alive, since he wouldn't have had any ovaries to become cancerous. Then, as noted above, the medical profession compounded its sins.

The documentary itself is very intense, and quite bittersweet, and oddly lovely. One can only hope that the fiction film can manage to catch some of the same spirit. It is well cast, to be sure ... although, really, it seems even more unnecessary than most Hollywood remakes.

Given Walter Hill's existing and well-known film, one also suspects that the title will be changed before release. A pity, really.

Posted by iain at 05:35 PM in category film