In a surprising turn of events, the Australian supernatural horror film “Talk to Me” has been banned from release in Kuwait. Known for its strict censorship policies, Kuwait’s decision to ban the film has raised eyebrows due to the unique reason behind it. The film’s star, Zoe Terakes, who identifies as nonbinary and trans-masculine, has been targeted solely based on their gender identity.
This unprecedented move in the Gulf region highlights a notable development in film censorship. It is reportedly the first time a film has been blocked due to the gender identity of one of its cast members, even though this identity is not explicitly mentioned in the film itself.
The banning of “Talk to Me” has ignited concerns about the treatment of LGBTQ talent in Kuwait and other Gulf territories. While these regions have a history of banning films with LGBTQ scenes or references, this decision based solely on the actor’s gender identity is seen as a worrying trend that could further restrict LGBTQ representation in the future.
Despite the ban in Kuwait, “Talk to Me” has managed to achieve critical acclaim and commercial success on an international scale. With earnings of $10 million, the film has become A24’s second biggest domestic opening after “Hereditary.” Additionally, Zoe Terakes, who gained prominence through their role in the film, has been announced as the first transgender actor to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the upcoming TV series “Ironheart.”
Interestingly, while Kuwait has chosen to ban the film, “Talk to Me” has seen an unedited release in other Gulf territories. This disparity in censorship practices within the region further highlights the differing treatment and approaches taken toward films.