Sean Baker and Mya Taylor Q&A: ‘Tangerine’
“I didn’t have any high expectations when we were filming,” admits Mya Taylor, one of the stars of Sean Baker’s new film “Tangerine,” a micro-budget indie shot entirely on iPhones about a pair of transexual prostitutes roaming the street or Hollywood searching for a no-good pimp. During our recent webcam chat, Baker admitted to being just as stunned as Taylor by the awards buzz generated for the film. “When you’re making a film, you’re just concentrating on getting that film made,” he says. “You don’t want to be thinking about the future because…well…I believe in jinxing myself.”
“I thought we were just doing a regular, great project,” adds Taylor who recently won the Gotham award for Breakthrough Actor. She is nominated for Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirits, where the film is also contending for Directing, Lead Actress (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), and Best Feature.
Taylor is the first transgender actress to win the Gotham Award, and both she and Rodriguez could make history by becoming the first trans actors to compete at the Oscars.
“Tangerine” is one of many films and television series that have helped bring LGBT issues to the forefront of America’s consciousness at a crucial time in their fight for equal rights. “As far as this film goes, I think it shows the struggles that we have,” says Taylor. “It kind of opens people's eyes, because some people are kind of blind to it.”
Baker agrees, saying, “I see it as just one more story in the millions of stories that could be told about the varied trans communities and movements. And it’s just one piece in helping escalate or increase the visibility of them.”