Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

TRANSPARENT Jill Soloway discusses the future of the Pfeffermans
2017-10-11

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Transparent won't be winding down anytime soon. A fifth season of the multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series ( about a transgender female who began a gender transition late in life and her family's subsequent self-revelations ) began pre-production even before season four's recent premiere on Amazon Prime Video.

This season, the Jewish-American Pfefferman clan ends up in Israel, where patriarch-turned-transgender-matriarch Maura ( Jeffrey Tambor ), ex-wife Shelly ( Judith Light ), and their children—Ali ( Gaby Hoffman ), Sarah ( Amy Landecker ), and Josh ( Jay Duplass )—unearth more secrets and discoveries about their family line, sexualities/relationships and identities, while set against the Israel-Palestinian conflict and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack.

Having based the character Maura on a transgender parent who came out in their 70s, creator/director/writer Jill Soloway, who will headline Chicago's Humanities Festival in October, has evolved along with Transparent's Pfeffermans and currently identifies as gender non-binary ( and goes by "they" pronouns ). Via telephone, Soloway elaborated on season four, the show's other transgender characters and, of course, season five ( and no, Soloway isn't leaving the show despite misleading press reports ).

Windy City Times: What did season four allow you to do that's different from the last season?

Jill Soloway: We realized how much we love it when the Pfefferman family is together. Normally in a show when you start to give people things to do, you create love interests for them and new characters. Ali has a crush on lesbian Syd [Carrie Brownstein], Josh is in love with Rabbi Raquel [Kathryn Hahn], and Sarah is choosing between Tammy [Melora Hardin] and Len [Ron Huebel]. But what we wanted to do this season is let the characters turn toward each other and have that comedy and love of being in a family.

WCT: What were some of the biggest issues hashed out in the writers' room for season four?

JS: Well, the family goes to Israel, so we wanted to tell that story in a way that resonated differently for each member. A lot of the season has a Jesus Christ Superstar rock opera kind of, your memories of being a child, and whatever you thought it meant to live in Jesus' time and come down with Messiah complex—those are the kinds of broad, funny stories. But we also wanted to tell the real stories of what's actually happening right now in the world. For queer people, trans people, for identity. Intersectionality. The question of having to choose between your queerness and your Jewishness, your Jewishness and your trans-ness. You're being asked to choose, but not really able to.

WCT: Is there a Dana International cameo?

JS: [Laughs] No. In fact, I heard of her but didn't know enough about her to work her into the season.

WCT: Did anyone in Israel recognize the cast while shooting?

JS: We actually didn't go to Israel. We shot in Los Angeles. We got some B-roll, but we didn't bring the actors there. It's a camera trick. We had a fake Dead Sea at Universal Studios and a fake Wailing Wall at Paramount.

WCT: I understand that Maura's HIV-positive mentor and friend, Davina, played by Chicago transgender actress Alexandra Billings, has a spotlight episode this season.

JS: Yes. Davina is an amazing, really important part of the show. What we do is tell the story of how she got there. The experience is really different for trans women who come up through the gay world and those who come up through the heterosexual cross-dressing world. There are really two different paths on this gender journey, and for trans women who came up through the gay world, the drag world, the pageant world, their story is one of Stonewall, of HIV and AIDS, of moving from the gay world into the straight world. So we really tell that story.

WCT: What about new transgender or non-binary characters this season?

JS: Well, we start to tell the stories about Ali Pfefferman's relationship with their own gender identity. We do Davina's history, of the women she knew as she was coming up in the trans world. And there are other trans people, actors and characters, that are part of Maura's world."

WCT: Have any ideas proved too loopy or insane and got shot down so far?

JS: Well, when Ali is at the women's music festival [in season two] and has a hallucination and sees Tante Gittel ( a transgender character who lived in 1930s Berlin at the Hirschfeld Sex Institute, played by transgender actress Hari Nef ) in this modern dance confrontation with the Nazis, at one point that was actually going to be a musical number with singing and dancing. I'm glad we got rid of the actual lyrics. My sister Faith loved musicals, so we are still trying to get a musical aspect in. I just don't think we necessarily needed to connect it with the Holocaust.

WCT: There has been some news about a new showrunner for the fifth season. Can you clarify this, and how the show might be different?

JS: OK, so there is not a new showrunner. I'm going crazy trying to fix this problematic press issue. I've always been the creator of the show, but somebody else has been running the show ever since season two. There is a show runner named Jill Gordon.

For the past couple of years we had a show runner named Bridget Bedard. I'm not leaving the show, I'm not working any less hard. I direct all the time, I still write all the time. I'm going to be directing a lot of the fifth season and in the writer's room. The narrative that I'm stepping down and somebody is taking over is bit of a PR blunder we're working on fixing. Jill Soloway is not stepping down.

WCT: What is the most surprising feedback you've received to the show so far?

JS: That's a good question. The shocking thing is I meet people who say they came out [as transgender] because of the show. They didn't think they could before, but watching the show allowed them to realize they could be trans and be accepted. They use the show to come out to their families, they tell them to watch the show first and then give them a call. They look at the conviviality of the fact they remain family. A show where the trans person is part of the fabric really normalizes trans-ness in a way where coming out doesn't mean losing your family. That's a huge effect of the show that I didn't really prepare for.

WCT: Are you familiar with 9-year-old drag queen Lactacia and this trend of adolescents who use social media, like 15-year-old Instagram makeup tutorial diva Jake Warden, to share and celebrate their own style of gender bending, queerness and fabulousness?

JS: Yeah, I think that's fantastic and so glad those people are out there.

WCT: Would you give any of them an opportunity to do a Transparent walk-on?

JS: I love that idea. Yeah. I think social media is a great place to look for all the up-and-coming trans talent, and I'll definitely check out who's doing tutorials on Instagram and see if we can find our next star.

WCT: Finally, do you have an end game for Maura?

JS: No. I need to keep everyone in the family slightly unhappy so that we have more story. I feel the same about Maura as all of the kids and people in the family. Keep frustrated, keep searching, keep dreaming, and trying to become.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

$1.35M in grants go to grassroots organizing by women of color, trans people of color 2017-12-14 - Groundswell is proud to announce $1,350,000 in grants for 30 organizations in its inaugural round of grantmaking through the Liberation Fund, a joint ...


Gay News

Experts recommend providing gender-affirmation treatment 2017-12-14 - Washington, DC—The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline on the treatment for gender-dysphoric/gender-incongruent people, commonly referred to as transgender, to develop ...


Gay News

Drag Race' queens in Chicago Dec. 21 2017-12-13 - The queens of RuPaul's Drag Race are spreading cheers and queers throughout the world this holiday season in their new musical-comedy show, Christmas ...


Gay News

World news: Couple tortured, 'Trans Day of Rage,' Bermuda marriage repeal 2017-12-12 - A gay couple in Uzbekistan were arrested and tortured by police, who charged them with engaging in illegal sexual relations, NewNowNext reported. Male ...


Gay News

Showbiz news: Laverne Cox, 'Queer Eye,' Patti LaBelle, Rogers-Berlanti wedding 2017-12-12 - Emmy Award nominee Laverne Cox is set to host the Lifetime beauty-competition series Glam Masters, set to air Wed., Feb. 28, a press ...


Gay News

National roundup: Trans Ariz. candidate, Kim Davis, Tinder date death 2017-12-12 - In Arizona, transgender Peoria woman Brianna Westbrook is a Democrat running in Congressional District 8, AZCentral.com noted. However, incumbent U.S. Rep. Trent Franks ...


Gay News

Trans student talks fight to secure locker-room access 2017-12-12 - A transgender suburban teenager recently filed a lawsuit against her high school's district to ensure equitable access to public accommodations, even though the ...


Gay News

HRC to honor trans trailblazer Grimm at conference on LGBTQ youth safety and inclusion 2017-12-12 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation ( HRC ) announced that it will honor transgender advocate Gavin Grimm with an Upstander ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2018 Newman hosts LGBT meet-and-greet 2017-12-12 - Marie Newman—a first-time candidate for U.S. Congress in the 3rd Congressional District of Illinois and the mother of a transgender child—hosted a fundraiser ...


Gay News

Fed. Judges reject requested delay on trans military enlistment 2017-12-11 - From Lambda Legal: Court Orders U.S. Military to Immediately Halt Ban of Transgender Troops SEATTLE (December 11, 2017) — Today, a federal court ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.