Transsexual MP offered granny role in film of life


Former prostitute, drag queen, mayor, MP and man, Georgina Beyer has been a person of many parts - but the prospect of playing her own grandmother in a film of her life proved one role too far.

Beyer, famous as the world's first transsexual member of Parliament, says she was offered a cameo in the forthcoming biopic, provisionally titled Girl, but turned it down.

"I overlooked the age issue," said Beyer. "But I said 'no thank you'. I loved her very much, but she died when I was 9. And I've got to divorce myself from the creative process."

The film, due to go into production next year, is being made by Australian company Lone Hand, produced by New Zealander Roger Simpson. The script was written by Simpson's partner Sally Irwin.

"It starts with my experience of being pack-raped in Sydney in the 1970s," Beyer said. "It's a pretty sensational beginning."

The former MP, who left Parliament earlier this year, said the film had been planned for three or four years and she had offered her input on an earlier draft of the script.

"I told them, what we need is really personal stuff which the public is not used to seeing. They took that on board. But I'm no bloody writer!"

Asked if she had considered who might portray her on screen, Beyer said she thought someone like cabaret performer Mika might do a good job.

"It could be a man and a woman... you might have a couple of genders.

"I have a preference for somebody who is a New Zealander, they may have an understanding of those elements of New Zealand society in the chunk of my life they are covering in the film."

Beyer revealed she had previously been approached by a number of cable networks in the United States wanting to make a movie of her life.

But she said she had no desire to see herself portrayed by someone with a half-formed accent "like Meryl Streep playing Lindy Chamberlain.

"This is an absolutely New Zealand story and the bloody Aussies are going to make it," she joked. "I want it to be a transtasman thing. I hope it is a true co-production."

Beyer said the script was partly based on her autobiography A Change for the Better.

Asked if it was difficult revisiting episodes in her life, such as her experience of prostitution, drug use and rape and her gender transformation she replied: "I'm over it. It doesn't trouble me in the psychological sense. Except that I get very angry whenever I hear about cases of rape or abuse."

Since competing in Dancing with the Stars, leaving Parliament, declining to run for the Wellington mayoralty and famously pulling out of a stage play at the 11th hour, Beyer has been searching for a role to suit her talents and varied experience.

Just before speaking to the Herald on Sunday she had been turned down for a high-profile human rights job. "Post- Parliament you are box-office poison for a while," she said.

"Maybe I should become a madam."

She is now looking forward to the cameras rolling on Girl and says that she will be available to the actor (or actors) charged with bringing her to life on screen.

She admitsthat she is excited by the project.

"I hope it will make New Zealand feel proud of me," she said.

"We made history together."

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