Will Ferrell has defended Benedict Cumberbatch’s role in “Zoolander 2” amidst many who claim the role is transphobic.
In November, a trailer for the movie was released and showed a clip of Cumberbatch playing an androgynous model. The “Sherlock” star’s gender is unclear leading Zoolander and Hansel to ask “Do you have a hot dog or a bun?”
Trans activists were furious over Cumberbatch’s portrayal and Justin Theroux’s screenwriting of the part. A petition was started to boycott the film upon its Feb. 16 release. It has almost hit its target goal of 25,000 signatures.
“Additionally, Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority,” the petition says.
In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, Ferrell says that it’s just comedy and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
“We are making fun of a bunch of different things,” Ferrell says. “In terms of reading the script, there’s that feeling, that world in which the movie is established, is so heightened and over the top.I guess there’s some controversy. To me, I don’t feel like it was over egregious.”
This isn’t the first time a Ferrell film has been accused of mocking the LGBT community. This past spring the comedy”Get Hard,” starring Ferrell and Kevin Hart, was labeled as homophobic with Variety calling it “some of the ugliest gay-panic humor to befoul a studio release in recent memory.”