|The Little Mermaid by Edmund Dulac|
Normally I don't bother with casting news unless it appears to be an indication of the direction the tale is going in. This announcement for Sofia Coppola's The Little Mermaid, though, would seem to do just that.
(Even I've heard of Andrej Pejić!)
Why the big deal? Isn't the addition of pretty people an almost foregone conclusion with the-filmmaker-beloved-by-fashonistas, Sofia Coppola?
You may remember that Ms. Coppola's version of The Little Mermaid is not the Disney one. It's to be based on the Hans Andersen story. And you may also remember that HCA is thought to have written the unhappy story, based on his own unrequited love for another man.
The Little Mermaid has become THE fairy tale for the LGBT community (especially since Disney created their popular version and many people, often for the first time, saw a lower body transform and identified very personally with the agony of being "caught between worlds"), and Hans Andersen's own struggles go a long way to making that a valid interpretation.
Where Andrej Pejić makes a difference by being included in the casting is in being the world's most famous androgynous model, modeling both female and male clothing on the catwalk and being the current fashion poster child for the transgender community. Pejić was ranked number 18 in the Top 50 Male Models of the world in 2011 as well as being included in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World, the same year. Self-described as "living between genders" and indicating a preference for female pronouns, she has never shied away from the controversy surrounding her gender or status, and although,
1) there's no doubt Pejić is ridiculously gorgeous as male or female (or between) and
2) Pejić has done a small amount of movie/film work before,
casting her for inclusion in this particular project by the talented, smart and very aware director, Sofia Coppola, is no accident.
While it remains to be seen what direction the film will go and which themes are focused on in the story, at the very least, Ms. Coppola has essentially announced that this film is inclusive for all who see it as "their" film, even if this is the only nod the LGBT community.
It will be very interesting to see whom else will be part of that world...