IFC Films has released a new trailer for A Kid Like Jake, trans director Silas Howard’s upcoming drama starring Emmy winners Claire Danes and Jim Parsons as parents struggling to understand their son’s gender identity.
According to an official synopsis, Brooklyn parents Alex and Greg Wheeler “have always known that their four-year-old son, Jake, was more interested in fairy tales than toy cars, but when preschool director Judy points out that his gender-nonconforming play may be more than a phase, they are forced to rethink their roles as parents and even as a couple.”
Oscar winner Octavia Spencer plays Judy, the lesbian preschool director, who encourages Alex and Greg to exploit the diversity aspect of Jake’s “gender-expansive play” when applying to private schools.
Parsons also co-produced the film with husband Todd Spiewak. “It is exactly this type of film—one born from passion and a commitment to telling a story that connects with many by being specific—that IFC has shown time and again they are excited by, understand and want audiences to have the chance to see,” said the Big Bang Theory star in a statement.
A Kid Like Jake, which premiered earlier this year at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was adapted for the screen by Daniel Pearle from his own play.
The Hollywood Reporter writes in its review that the film “strives to present an even-handed account of the couple’s increasingly divergent views, with Alex resistant to ’putting a label’ on their child, and Greg more open to embracing Jake’s transgender nature.”
Filmmaker Howard (By Hook or By Crook, What I Love About Dying, Sticks & Stones), has also directed episodes of LGBT-inclusive shows Transparent, The Fosters, This Is Us, Faking It, and FX’s upcoming Pose.
Howard tells The Advocate that A Kid Like Jake is “not a trans story” but more about “policing gender,” the “stakes of gender” and “commodifying otherness, how we have to label ourselves, and where we fit in.”
In casting Leo James Davis as Jake, Howard wanted “to find a kid who authentically is a little princess-obsessed little boy in real life,” he says. “We didn’t even buy clothes for him, we just used his actual clothes, all these amazing skirts, and these dresses!”
The cast also includes Priyanka Chopra, Ann Dowd, and Amy Landecker.
A Kid Like Jake is in theaters June 1.