Laverne Cox made history as the first trans actress cast as a trans main character in CBS’s legal drama “Doubt.” For her next project, it looks like she’ll blaze another trail — by playing a role not written with a trans character in mind.
On Tuesday, ABC announced she’ll be the co-lead on “The Trustee,” a female buddy cop pilot from Warner Bros. TV and Elizabeth Banks and Max Handleman’s company, Brownstone Productions. She’ll play Amanda Jones, a larger-than-life ex-con finishing out her prison sentence by doing menial tasks for the police department. Co-lead Meaghan Rath plays her counterpart, Eliza Radley.
ABC hasn’t responded to a request for comment from TheWrap, but in the character description posted by Breakdown Services, nowhere is it mentioned that Amanda is trans; the casting notice does encourage agents to “please submit all ethnicities.” The show’s casting directors declined to comment further to TheWrap.
Based off the casting description, this marks the first time Cox has been cast in a major project where her own trans identity didn’t factor into the casting (if you don’t count Fox’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” remake, where she played Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a part traditionally played by a man in drag).
On her Netflix breakthrough, “Orange Is the New Black,” Cox earned the first Emmy nomination for an openly transgender person for her role as trans inmate and beauty expert Sophia Burset. Her twin brother, M. Lamar, played Burset before her character’s transition in the show.
Similarly, Cox’s role on “Doubt” as Cameron Wirth, a competitive attorney and Ivy League graduate, was also written as trans by the show’s creators, married couple Joan Rater and Tony Phelan, who have a trans son.
Cox shot all 13 episodes of “Doubt,” but the network yanked it off the air after two episodes due to poor ratings. The network has to announce when — of if — the remaining episodes will air. It remains unscheduled for the time being.
She’ll next appear in season 5 of “Orange is the New Black,” which streams on Netflix June 9.