Patti Harrison is the kind of comedian who could care less what you think, which is a huge part of why she’s so beloved. Whether on social media (where she recently convinced everyone she’s the official Twitter account for Nilla Wafers, mocking Oreo’s recent, tonedeaf attempt at trans allyship on the platform) or on screen, Harrison is the rare kind of artist who is unwaveringly herself. Her rise continues with this week’s announcement that she’ll soon star alongside actors Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock in the romantic-adventure film The Lost City of D.
Via a Variety report on Thursday, the actress will play a “still under wraps” role in the ensemble film. While we don’t know exactly what the “D” stands for, the plot sounds like pure escapism; the film follows “a reclusive romance novelist (Bullock), who was was sure nothing could be worse than getting stuck on a book tour with her cover model (Tatum), until a kidnapping attempt sweeps them both into a cutthroat jungle adventure, proving life can be so much stranger, and more romantic, than any of her paperback fictions.”
Harrison was already having a stellar 2021. This month, she saw widespread praise for her voice acting work in the Disney animated film Raya and the Last Dragon as the chieftess of the Tail Land. Released simultaneously in movie theaters and on Disney’s streaming service on March 5, Raya features the studio’s first Southeast Asian princess, while Harrison became the first known trans actor to voice a Disney character with her role. Earlier this year, Harrison also starred in the Sundance comedy Together Together alongside The Office alum Ed Helms and Los Espookys comedian Julio Torres.
The announcements signal some much-needed progress in Hollywood for trans representation on screen. A 2020 GLAAD study found that transgender characters were entirely absent from all major studio films released in 2019, the third straight year that the media watchdog group pointed out such a lapse.
Speaking to the New York Times in 2019, Harrison shared how she hoped to improve representation of trans people through her work, which includes writing for the hit Netflix animation Big Mouth. “Cisgender people tend to want trans stories of triumph that are easy to metabolize,” she said. “I want to make things that are subversive and not so entry-level.”
If you’re craving more Harrison, you’re in luck soon. The comedian will reprise her role in the third (and final) season of Shrill, which premieres on Hulu May 7. Here’s to more subversive work from one of our favorite comedians and actresses in the game.
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