Hulu unleashes Hellraiser, the reboot of the legendary horror franchise, on Friday. Trans actress Jamie Clayton succeeds Doug Bradley as the aptly named Pinhead, the head “priest” of a group of other dimensional beings called Cenobites.
Once again, they’re brought to our dimension thanks to some teens tinkering with a mysterious puzzle box.
Clayton gives director David Bruckner credit for having someone of a different gender play the role, explaining that Bruckner wanted the movie to reflect “the world we live in.”
“So the Cenobites are all different ethnicities and genders, and the same thing with the cast,” Clayton tells ABC Audio. “So it feels really authentic. It’s not overtly saying anything. It’s just, it is what it is,” adding with a laugh, “and I was so impressed … [by] the fact that he actually did it.”
Having a trans actress take on such a pivotal role just seemed obvious, Bruckner says. “You know, Hellraiser has always been very much embraced by the queer community. And it would be, I think, an injustice to not open up the casting and hiring the crew, as well.”
What matters is that Clayton is seductive — and scary — as Pinhead always was, thanks to extensive prosthetic makeup.
He notes, “When she’d walk out on set, you could feel a hush fall over the crew … and you know you’re in the presence of royalty.” He adds, “And she can be quite intimidating to talk to … So there’s more than a few times that, you know, I found myself going, ‘Oh, excuse me, Priest … Can you just take a little step to the left?’ Like, you have to be delicate when you’re when you’re dealing with the lead Cenobite.”
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