The actress will play a young person transitioning from female to male in a new movie

Credit: Courtesy Three Generations

She’s one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars – last seen as Princess Aurora opposite Angelina Jolie in Maleficent – and now Elle Fanning is tackling a challenging new role: playing a New York City teen transitioning from female to male in the upcoming drama Three Generations.

Fanning, 16, will star as Ray, whose decision to live as a boy complicates life for her single mom Maggie, played by Naomi Watts, who must come to terms with having to raise her only daughter as a son. Susan Sarandon adds to the family drama as Ray’s grandmother, a lesbian who is also struggling with her granddaughter’s life-changing decision.

The movie, written by Nikole Beckwith, directed by Gaby Dellal and also starring Linda Emond, Tate Donovan, Sam Trammell, Maria Dizzia and Jordan Carlos, is the latest in a stream of Hollywood offerings featuring trans characters, among them Dallas Buyers Club and Amazon Studios’ Transparent. Although critically praised, these projects and others such as 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry and 2005’s Transamerica have been criticized by some activists for not featuring transgender actors.

But with one of Hollywood’s hottest young talents in this groundbreaking role, the movie, which just started shooting in New York, seems likely to attract plenty of awards buzz.

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