Wentworth push for authenticity
"I’m personally sick of seeing Cisgender people playing transgender roles," says Zoe Terakes.
Jane Hall, Kate Box, Zoe Terakes
Wentworth will push boundaries when it returns to Foxtel in 2020.
Actor Zoe Terakes (Janet King, The End) joins Jane Hall (Neighbours, House Husbands) and Kate Box (Upright, Les Norton, Rake) as new cast members for Season 8, currently filming in Melbourne.
Terakes plays Reb Keene, depicted as a transgender male, romantically linked to Lou Kelly (Kate Box).
“I identify as non-binary,” Terakes said. “So I’ve played non-binary before in a short film. But I’ve never played a transgender male. I’m very comfortable with it. I feel more like that than I do a girl.
“I’m personally sick of seeing Cisgender people playing transgender roles. It’s not ok in my book.
“Personally, when I watch it I don’t believe it. They’ve done their research but that’s all.”
Whether actors are entitled to act straight, gay and trans is an evolving question in an industry that is built on portrayal and masks. But Terakes is adamant.
“Until a trans woman can go for every role that Jane can go for, then it’s not fair, because there are so few (trans) roles.
“Whenever I see a gay person play gay or trans play trans, I feel so represented. That just doesn’t happen when I watch someone act it.”
Jane Hall, who started in The Henderson Kids at 10 just as the original Prisoner was concluding, will play general manager Ann Reynolds -another Prisoner heritage character but with a new twist.
“She’s in charge of Wentworth and all the prisoners. She’s sort of like head of corrections, having been headhunted from London where she managed to successfully manage a prison there,” said Hall.
“She comes in basically to clean up the wreck of the siege and get Wentworth back to a strong financial position. To do that she is very hardline, very right-wing and not pro-prisoners. She’s pretty ruthless. She’ll do whatever it takes to get things back on track.
“I was desperate to get it. I wanted so badly to be in this show. I’m not just a superfan, I’m enamoured of the actors and the writing. As a woman who is nearly 50, I don’t see any other programme around that is being owned and dominated by female characters.
“It’s an amazing opportunity. I really needed it. I was really gunning for it. I fought and fought.”
Terakes, 19, agrees Wentworth represents an amazing opportunity for actors.
“When you talk to the others on the show they say the reason it’s so good is because you’re not playing somebody’s wife or girlfriend. You’re playing the roles that blokes have got to play for years….. you’re not an archetype. Not just a whore or virgin.
“Reb’s pretty cool. He’s a trans guy. He’s kind of not what you’d expect as a person in prison. He’s quite timid and gentle. But he goes in with the love of his life.
Wentworth returns to FOX Showcase in 2020.
(*Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.)