The video for Arcade Fire’s gay rights song, ‘We Exist’ features one of the most talked about actors of the moment, Andrew Garfield. And while the band’s intentions were both clear and admirable, the casting of the Spider-Man actor called in to question the lack of transsexual actors in big roles.
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone pose at the Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala
Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of Against Me! And a transgender women herself expounded the criticism on Twitter. “Dear @arcadefire, maybe when making a video for a song called "We Exist" you should get an actual "Trans" actor instead of Spider-Man?” she wrote on Twitter.
"It's called 'We Exist' and there is literally no sign of that existence represented," she added. "Should have been called 'They Exist'. When you come from the perspective you're representing, it's truth and powerful." The powers that be behind The Dallas Buyer’s Club came under similar criticism for failing to cast a transgender actor, choosing instead to cast eventual Oscar winner, Jared Leto, for the role of Rayon.
The band’s lead singer, Win Butler, has now responded to Grace’s comments in an interview with The Advocate, saying: “For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion,” he said, admitting he could "totally see the sensitivity of the issue”.
David Wilson, the director of the video in question “We Exist” video, added: “Before I got on the call, I thought, ‘Is this the right person, should we be using a transgender person? But then getting on the phone with Andrew, and Andrew’s commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming.
“For an actor of that calibre to be that emotionally-invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense.”
What do you think: should The Arcade Fire have hired a transgender actor to play the transgender role, or were they right to use the fame and widespread appeal of Andrew Garfield to spread their message? Have your vote in our poll below.