So, you know how in our review of Insidious we talk about how director James Wan has a phobia of old ladies in Victorian wedding dresses? We found out an interesting fact about that old lady in Insidious.
It's a dude.
Philip Friedman (not to be confused with Phillip J. Fry) underwent a gender change to portray the sinister Old Woman spirit (that's 'gender change', not 'sex change', for people who don't understand the difference between sex and gender. He changed his mannerisms, dress, and stuff). Philip's character is the image that the film has been using for their main marketing campaign, appearing on the poster and frankly, the part of the film that is the most interesting, the silliest, the scariest, and the most downright fun.
No homophobia allowed! We love that actors are open to changing genders to portray a character without letting uptight societal standards of gender behavior somehow change their percieved sexuality.
“When I was fitted for the dress and did a trial run of makeup, the director James Wan asked me how I wouldfeel about wearing prosthetic, piranha-like teeth. I said, ‘Yeah, bring it on!’" says Friedman. When he got to the part of the role where he has to dress like a chick, he did experience a twinge of fear, as our society severaly punishes men who do not live up to the decided standard of masculinity at all times.
"I have to admit, at first I felt kind of weird playing a woman and wearing a dress, with a wig and all the makeup, but as it turned out it was so much fun I couldn’t wait for each day of shooting.”
If there's one thing James Wan and Leigh Whannel do in horror, it's take risks. I'm glad they can inspire actors to also take risks in their careers and even to stand up to their own personal fears. Because, really, its just a costume, and it's just a dress. But I'm happy that a male was allowed to play a character of a different gender without it being a joke, like in Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, White Chicks, etc. When a male actor can play a woman and it's just normal for him to be doing so because he's an actor, we heighten the accomplishments of an actor to create someone new and we heighten our own awareness of how silly rigid gender roles truly are.
Philip, looking more masculine, which probably is more familiar and acceptable to the average person