Laverne Cox stars as Gail, the friend and boss of Carey Mulligan's Cassie in Promising Young Woman

By Alexia Fernández
May 12, 2021 02:19 PM
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Laverne Cox
Credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace / Focus Features

The Italian release of Promising Young Woman is coming under fire for dubbing Laverne Cox's voice with that of a male actor.

The film, which was set for a May 13 release in Italy, was pushed back after a clip of the movie, Una Donna Promettente in Italian, was posted by Universal Pictures Italy earlier this month, according to The Guardian

The clip features Cox's Gail speaking to Carey Mulligan's Cassie in a male voice, the publication reported. The actor voicing Cox, 48, is Roberto Pedicini. She was also dubbed by male actors in other European versions of the movie.

A source close to the film tells PEOPLE Cox was not aware of who dubbed her, "but provisions have been put in place to prevent this from ever happening again."

In a statement to The Guardian, Universal Pictures International said, "We are deeply grateful to Laverne and the transgender community for opening our eyes to a bias that neither we nor many in our industry recognized. While there was no malicious intent behind this mistake, we are working diligently to fix it. We have begun redubbing Ms. Cox's voice with female actors in our international territories and are pushing back release dates to ensure the correct version is available."

"We are sorry for the pain caused but are thankful that we can address the situation on this film and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects," the statement concluded. 

The film clip received widespread backlash with Italian voice actress Vittoria Schisano, a trans woman, telling The Guardian, "I think this dubbing choice was a straight-up act of violence."

"It's insulting," Schisano continued. "I'd feel bullied if I were [Cox]." Schisano previously dubbed Cox for the Netflix documentary Amend: The Fight for America and was the Italian voice for the trans character Natalie in Big Mouth.

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Universal Pictures International will also re-voice other versions of Promising Young Woman in countries like Spain and Germany, where a male actor was originally hired to dub over Cox's performance.

Cox's breakthrough came from her performance of Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black. She became the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category.

For the Italian version of OITNB, Cox was again dubbed by a male actor, Andrea Lavagnino, who also voiced Cox in the Italian dubbing of The Mindy Project and Doubt, the publication reported.