Living icon Billy Porter is about to make his directorial debut with, unsurprisingly, a story on Black queer joy. The trailer for his coming-of-age film “Anything’s Possible” dropped on June 2 and it’s been garnering praise as one of the first rom-coms, if not the first, led by a Black trans character.
“Anything’s Possible” follows the story of trans high school senior Kelsa (newcomer Eva Reign) as she navigates dating her first boyfriend, Khal (Abubakr Ali) and growing up with her single mom (“Hamilton’s” Renée Elise Goldsberry).
The trailer teases a cute dynamic where Khal is the one pining for and pursuing Kelsa. We’re finally getting a movie that acknowledges how a lot of us make a fool of ourselves when we’re talking to intimidatingly hot trans women. Relatable! We also see a clip of Kelsa’s mom telling her, “What is unique about you does not make you hard to love.” Cue tears.
“This is an aspirational story,” Porter told Variety. “We know that. It’s a look at what we can be. That’s what we as artists get to do—look at what we can be and what we should be.”
Before pursuing acting, Reign worked as a journalist. She shared in an interview with Them that getting the lead role was a dream that she never thought would come true. “It’s ironic: The movie’s called ‘Anything’s Possible,’ but I didn’t believe it,” she said. “My whole life, I’d wanted to be an actress, but even after I got that call I was telling myself, ‘I’m a Black trans girl—I’m not going to be the lead in a movie. That’s not feasible. I’ll be lucky to play someone’s friend.’”
Reign shared how she struggled with previous auditions because her rich vocal tone was often misconstrued as a failure to pass as feminine. “When a cis woman has a strong, resonant voice, people love that fullness. Just look at Viola Davis, Sandra Bullock, Oprah, even Meryl Streep. We can list them for days. But when it comes to the girls, we’re supposed to sound like a Disney princess who just took in a bunch of helium,” she said. But Porter was different. He directed her to speak with her full range. “He sees the girls.”
As an Arab Muslim actor, becoming a lead also felt monumental to Abubakr. “When I was growing up, the only romantic lead I ever ever saw myself represented in was…‘Aladdin.’ And that always made me sad. That changes now,” he wrote on Instagram. “And I’m so lucky to do it in support and awe of the effervescent @msevareign paving the way with this film.”
When “Anything’s Possible” premieres on Prime Video on July 22, you bet we will be seated.