‘Talk to Me’ Banned in Kuwait Over Star Zoe Terakes

‘Talk to Me’ Filmmakers “Stand in Solidarity” With Zoe Terakes After Kuwait Ban Over Inclusion of Trans Actor (Exclusive)

Causeway Films, the producer of horror feature Talk to Me, and its sales agent Bankside Films have issued a joint statement in support of the film’s star Zoe Terakes. The move comes after The Hollywood Reporter on Friday broke the news that Talk to Me — which has become a smash hit around the world — had been banned by censors in Kuwait over the casting of Terakes, who identifies as nonbinary and trans masculine.

While many films have been banned in Kuwait for the inclusion of LGBT themes or references, this title is the first to be blocked from release over the gender identity of a cast member, something not referenced in the story, and could represent the start of worrying trend going forward when it comes to LGBTQ talent.

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“We stand in solidarity with Zoe Terakes following the decision by Kuwait to ban the film Talk to Me,” said Causeway and Bankside. “Zoe has made their own statement, which we fully support, and we are immensely proud of their involvement in the film.”

Over the weekend, Terakes wrote a lengthy and emotional statement about the situation on their Instagram account and on X.

“I am a trans actor who happened to get the role. I’m not a theme. I’m a person. Kuwait has banned this film due to my identity alone,” they wrote. “It is targeted and dehumanizing and means to harm us.”

They added: “As much as it is very sad to be on the receiving end of this, what is even more heartbreaking is what this precedent means for the queer and trans people of Kuwait. Eliminating trans actors on screens will not eliminate trans people (as much as the government of Kuwait wishes it would) but it will eliminate a lot of hope. And hope is such a large part of how we live as marginalized people. It’s how we learn to move through the hatred and the mistreatment and the violence.”

See Terakes’ full statement below.