“Brokeback Mountain” With an All-Trans Cast? It’s Happening.

Newfest is hosting a virtual table read with an exciting twist on the queer classic.

It’s been 15 years since Brokeback Mountain premiered, but we still can’t quit the cowboy love story. Even if you know Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning film by heart, get ready to see it in a new way.

Newfest, New York City’s annual LGTBQ film festival, is hosting a virtual live-read of the Brokeback Mountain screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, but this time, the entire cast will consist of trans actors. Leo Sheng (The L Word: Generation Q) will play Ennis with Brian Michael Smith (911: Lone Star) co-starring as Jack, Jen Richards (Tales of the City) as Alma, Alexandra Grey (Empire) as Lurleen, and Sam Feder (director of Disclosure) reading as the narrator.


The Brokeback Mountain live-read is free—with an optional suggested donation—and will take place Sunday, October 18 at 6pm ET/3pm PT. It will be livestreamed on Newfest’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The event is produced in collaboration with #MakeItGay live reads, founded by author-activist Gaby Dunn during quarantine to “reimagine typically white, straight, cis and male films into ones with diverse casts of various queer people.”

Event proceeds will be split between The NewFest Future Fund, to benefit NewFest and its programs for LGBTQ youth, filmmaker resources, and year-round screening programs, as well as the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The groundbreaking queer love story, directed by Lee and adapted from a 1997 short story by Annie Proulx, received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and acting nods for both leads, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger. It walked away with Oscars for Best Original Score, Screenplay, and Director. In the years since, the movie has been hailed as a modern queer film classic and was even added to the National Film Registry in 2018.

Head over to the Newfest site for more info.

Main image: Heath Ledger (L) and Jake Gyllenhaal in the original Brokeback Mountain.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."