New York City’s Port Authority bus station is an unlikely place to meet the love who might change your life. But love, like a rose in concrete, can take root in the most unlikely places. So it is that Wye, a trans woman of color, and Paul, a white kid fresh off a bus from Pennsylvania, first lay eyes on each other in Danielle Lessovitz’s stirring romantic drama Port Authority.
Paul, played by Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead, arrives in search of family who isn’t there to greet him. He spots Wye, portrayed by Pose actress Leyna Bloom, among her chosen family, voguing and kiki-ing on the steps outside the station. After an instant, silent spark, a while passes before their paths cross again, and their path together will be complicated by sometimes violent interference — but for both, the journey may prove worthwhile.
“I think the movie is about two people trying to connect with each other in a way that’s new and fresh and beautiful and organic and real and raw. And they’re not choosing to let anyone hold them back,” says Bloom, who made history with Port Authority in its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, marking the first time a feature starring a trans woman of color had debuted at the festival.
The film, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, also marks the feature directing debut for Lessovitz, who cast Bloom, a successful model who’d never starred in a film, in a role that mirrors aspects of Bloom’s own experience as a respected member of the house and ballroom community. Although both actress and director were entering unfamiliar territory, they were in sync “from the get go,” Bloom recalls.
“We really blueprinted our connection on trying to figure out where are we right now with humanity, and where are we going and how can we tell a story about love through intersections of different places and people that aren’t normally seen in society or in entertainment spaces. So it was kind of a beautiful seed that we had to water, both of us. And it grew into a beautiful project. And she wanted to make sure that I had a voice on this project, and I was telling this story as authentically as much as I can, because I do come from the ballroom scene and I am a trans woman, and that’s what the role is looking for. We wanted to make sure that we were doing this the right way and not fetishizing or sexualizing, or having this horrible gaze on these beautiful things that we’re doing.”
Following Port Authority‘s high-profile premiere, the film was on its way to lighting up the festival circuit when the global pandemic slowed its roll. But Bloom has not slowed down, taking on her part in Pose as a member of the ruthless House of Khan, and taking her modeling career to new heights with her next milestone, appearing in Sports Illustrated‘s legendary swimsuit issue, hitting newsstands in July. And she’s thrilled that the love story of Wye and Paul finally will find its audience.
“I feel like when the movie was just announced, before even premiering at the Cannes Festival, people were craving something like this — they were craving this film,” says the actress. “It made history in 2019. And we really showed up, and set the bar so high with this film about love. Then months later, we’re in a pandemic and the film is on this festival tour and everything is going amazing. And, you know, I’m just lucky that we picked it up where we left off — not just with my film, but other projects that I worked on, other projects that other people are working on, and just the world at hand.
“We’re in a time right now when we can finally get back to celebrating the things that we miss and the things that we left off at, so I think it’s just a blessing that we’re getting a second chance — everyone, not just this film, but everyone should get a second chance to do things differently, and treat things differently.”
Port Authority releases on Friday, May 28 in select theaters, and on VOD and Digital Tuesday, June 1.
When I was thirteen, I saw Jurassic Park nine times at the movies. Quadruple that viewing number once the VHS landed at my local Blockbuster. I was addicted AF. I read all the books, bought all the toys, watched all the sequels. And -- blah, blah, blah -- haters will say it's because I was the target audience for dinosaur content -- fine, fine, fine -- but you know what? My father, Steven Spielberg, turns seventy-five on December 18th, so don't come at me that my dad's not a king.
Spoiler: Steven Spielberg is not my father. I don't know him; he doesn't know me. But his movies have impacted me in such a paternal way, I figure the least I can do is drop him a birthday note. Legit, it's the least I can do.
Slasher films had been left for dead when Scream came along in December 1996 to single-handedly revive and rewrite the genre. Driven by its twisty, small-town murder-mystery plot, and a mile-wide sarcastic streak aimed at skewering horror movie tropes, the film killed at the box office. Copycat after copycat would follow, and so would a slew of sequels, including the latest, unhelpfully titled Scream.
Other popular horror movie series, from Halloween to Friday the 13th, might have generated bigger grosses, but they also have spawned at least one, if not several, shitty sequels. While not every film in the Scream franchise is great, each has its merits, and none of them are as horrible as Jason X. Some in the series have aged better than others, and at least one surpasses the original as the best Scream of them all.
Steven Spielberg's lavish new adaptation of West Side Story has been banned in multiple Middle Eastern nations due to its inclusion of a transgender character.
Audiences in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will miss out on the film, which is garnering glowing reviews.
In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among others, West Side Story was outright denied a release certificate, Variety reports. In other nations, like Oman and Qatar, Disney refused to comply with censors' demands to cut a transgender character.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!