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Tags: Hollywood | laverne cox | voiceover | universal pictures

Universal Sorry for Dubbing Laverne Cox With Male Actor in Italian-Language 'Promising Young Woman'

laverne cox stands onstage at awards show
Laverne Cox speaks onstage during ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles, California. (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

By    |   Thursday, 13 May 2021 12:56 PM

Universal Pictures has issued an apology after a male actor was used to dub over the voice of Laverne Cox in the Italian-language version of "Promising Young Woman."

The release of a clip from the film in which Cox's character, Gail, is dubbed by actor Roberto Pedicini sparked backlash recently, forcing the film's Italian-language premiere to be delayed. The ordeal has been widely reported on, and outlets have now shined a light on the fact that a cis man has also voiced Cox's character in Germany and Spain, where the movie is already out, Vulture reported. 

Universal Pictures handles the distribution for the movie in Europe and has apologized for the male actor's voiceover. 

"We are deeply grateful to Laverne and the transgender community for opening our eyes to a bias that neither we nor many in our industry had recognized," the studio's statement to The Guardian reads. "While there was no malicious intent behind this mistake, we are working diligently to fix it. We have begun redubbing Ms. Cox's voice with female actors in our international territories and are pushing back release dates to ensure the correct version is available."

Universal Pictures further apologized for "the pain caused but are thankful that we can address the situation on this film and prevent similar mistakes from happening again on future projects."

Commenting on the dubbing, Italian trans actor and voice actor Vittoria Schisano, who dubbed Cox on the Netflix documentary "Amend: The Fight for America," told the outlet that it was "insulting."

"I'd feel bullied if I were [Cox]," she said, adding that no one had even approached her to read for Cox's role. Schisano also spoke about Universal Pictures' quick reaction to the backlash.

"Changing one's mind can be a smart approach," she said. "We can all make mistakes, but those who are smart apologize, take a step back, and try to fix it."

This is not the first Italian-language film in which a male actor was used to dub Cox's character. Vulture noted that it had been going on for years, with the same voice actor having been used for Cox's roles in "Orange Is the New Black," "The Mindy Project," and "Doubt."

Responding to the high concentration of cis, white men within the industry, Daniele Giuliani, the President of Associazione Nazionale Attori Doppiatori (ANAD), told The Guardian that it was not discriminatory, but pointed out that that "we've never had black voice actors – not because we didn't want them, but because there aren't any who have specialized in voice acting."

Giuliani added that, although there have been studios that have requested — they find "alternative solutions" or non-specialized dubbers — this has not always worked out. 

"A priori inclusion risks typecasting our actors and undermines the quality of our work," he said. "When the result was artistically valid, we've gone with it."

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TheWire
Universal Pictures has issued an apology after a male actor was used to dub over the voice of Laverne Cox in the Italian-language version of "Promising Young Woman." The release of a clip from the film in which Cox's character, Gail, is dubbed by...
laverne cox, voiceover, universal pictures
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2021-56-13
Thursday, 13 May 2021 12:56 PM
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