Billy Porter is just one letter away from EGOT status, and with the rollout of his latest project, he’s one step closer to catching them all. In his directorial debut, Porter tells the story of a trans teen girl who falls in love with a Muslim-American boy in their senior year of high school. Written by Ximena García Lecuona, the script for “Anything’s Possible” spoke to Porter who was looking for more queer stories to tell on screen after wrapping up the final season of the runaway FX hit, Pose last summer.
“The screenwriter’s obvious intention to present the transgender community in a new light blew me away: JOY!” Porter wrote in his director’s statement. “The ultimate result is a film like none other we’ve ever seen … populated with the diversity our world demands. It’s a true celebration of the authentic, human spirit.”
For the lead characters, Porter knew that casting would come down to a search for a confident Black trans actress that would be storytelling from a point of view rarely seen, and a young male actor that would need to be self assured, and mature enough to bring the tale to life.
In the end, Eva Reign will be making her film debut alongside Abubakr Ali, soon to become the first Arab Muslim to star in a comic book film adaptation in the upcoming Netflix movie, Grendel.
Admitting to NBC News that he had not initially read through the script in its entirety, Ali originally thought he was being cast for the role of the best friend.
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“Just having been jaded by what I’d seen before, I’d never seen a script where someone from my background or my history was a leading man, other than Aladdin,” he said, in reference to the Disney character.
As for Reign, although she knows that not all character portrayals require lived experiences, she also recognized the importance of playing a character she always wanted to see on screen.
“This was my chance to give that younger version of myself a gift, and hopefully it can be a gift for all of the young trans kids who are coming up now,” she said.
With two queer characters of color, the expectation has been to see big blowouts unfold when it comes to the support (or lack thereof) for the young couple. But this time around, the story offers a different take.
“Oftentimes, we portray the older generation in a caricature sense, and we only allow them one specific point of view,” Ali told NBC News. “So frankly, most people would watch this movie and expect Khal’s parents to kick him out of the house for having feelings for Kelsa. And it’s beautiful to see that generation given the opportunity to explore something else. Hopefully, within the world, we have older members of my community seeing that and being like, ‘That’s a possibility. What historically is supposed to be my reaction does not have to be the case.’”
Without offering any spoilers, “Anything’s Possible” has other surprises in store as well. But to get the full scope of the story, you’ll have to watch it yourself. The film is streaming now on Prime Video.