Denouement: How Will the World React to Lana Wachowski?
Photo of the Wachowskis in 1996, courtesy Dino De Laurentiis Company
For several years now, Lana's behavior has been the subject of much gossip. When the Wachowskis were riding high with "The Matrix" in 1999, Lana (then Larry) and Andy Wachowski didn't do interviews, which only helped make the men behind that groundbreaking sci-fi film seem all that more cool and intriguing. But when Larry got involved with a dominatrix and divorced his wife, people started whispering that he was cross-dressing and undergoing hormone treatment to become a woman. But since the Wachowskis don't do interviews, who could say for sure?
That's when Rolling Stone ran a piece in early 2006 that investigated Larry's personal life, which raised a lot of eyebrows for its juicy content -- Larry and Ilsa are into kinky stuff! -- and angered folks who found it simply trashy or, worse, offensive to the transgender S&M community. By the time "Speed Racer" came out in 2008, it didn't matter that the movie was a commercial and critical failure: The once-vaunted Wachowski brothers were now widely seen as "those guys who used to be brothers, but now one of 'em is a chick."
But the Wachowskis have reemerged in recent months, what with them co-directing (with Tom Tykwer) "Cloud Atlas," a pretty ambitious little endeavor. Even more impressive, though, was that the Wachowskis were now being identified as Lana and Andy Wachowski -- and nobody was making a big deal out of it. This caused some tempered sighs of relief from entertainment writer Mark Blankenship for how far we've come as a society:
Larry Wachowski has transitioned to Lana Wachowski ... . She has quietly announced herself as being transgender.
That's a huge deal for the trans community, and I'd say it's an even bigger deal that no one has made a huge announcement about Lana's transition. No one has said "transgender director Lana Wachoswksi is helming a movie starring Tom Hanks." Instead, the focus has been on Lana's work. Her gender identity has been treated matter-of-factly.
In fact, the existence of Lana was, it appears, first revealed back in December when the trades reported the Wachowskis' involvement in a Robin Hood story called "Hood." The directing duo were identified as Andy and Lana Wachowski. And it happened again today with the announcement that Lana and Andy will be making a "major science fiction action franchise" for Warner Bros. called "Jupiter Ascending." No mention of Lana's backstory -- just the facts about the project.
This ought to be a good thing. In comparison to the pretty tawdry stories that started rolling out about five years ago about Larry/Lana, there seems to be an attempt, at least within the Hollywood press, to normalize Lana's transformation. If Hollywood, which much of the planet condemns for its aberrant behavior and lax morals, can't be accepting of someone like Lana, what chance does she have with the world at large?