Zoolander 2 sets a new record to become the most successful comedy trailer …

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All Hail the Blue Steel: ‘Zoolander 2′ Trailer Debut Breaks Major Record.

Since its debut last Wednesday, the Zoolander 2 trailer has been viewed over 52.2 million times, solidifying it as “the most successful comedy trailer launch of all time” according to Paramount. “ZOOLANDER 2” will be out in February, bringing Derek Zoolander and Hansel (played by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson respectively) back to the screen as a pair of airheaded male models. The sequel features the Sorry singer (and … assassination target?) alongside a star-studded cast, which includes familiar faces, such as Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, as well as new ones, such as Penélope Cruz and Kristen Wiig.

Besides the potentially unwise attempt to revive the quirky fun of the first movie, which came out in 2001, the filmmakers have fallen on the wrong side of a fast-moving social change, with its own vocabulary that some young people are perfectly up to speed with, but which many older folks (Mr Stiller is 49) have yet to master. Newcomers to the beloved comedy include Penelope Cruz, Justin Bieber, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor, Justin Theroux, Kyle Mooney and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The western world has seen a lightning fast revolution in, first, the acceptance of gay people, and more recently, the visibility of transgender people. Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) walk the runway at the Valentino Fashion Show during Paris Fashion Week at Espace Ephemere Tuileries on March 10, 2015 in Paris. In the film, Stiller’s fashion model Derek Zoolander teams up with his rival Hansel (Wilson) to prevent the assassinations of the most beautiful people in the world — including stars like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Usher and Lenny Kravitz. In addition to starring and directing, Stiller has his hands full in this cookie jar, also having written the script alongside Theroux, Nick Stoller, and John Hamburg. The embrace of Caitlyn has been astonishingly rapid, with only a few daring to say a cross word. (Germaine Greer, a feminist whose heyday was in the 1970s, was a rare vote of dissent in saying that “Just because you lop off your penis…doesn’t make you a woman.” Activists have protested against speeches she had planned to give, which she in turn cancelled.) The Zoolander creators have angered a different constituency.

In the trailer, Hansel and Derek meet a new model (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) named All: shaved eyebrows, ironed-straight long hair, a white fur coat and blank expression. “Are you, like, a male model or a female model?” Asks Derek. “All is all,” says All. By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, they [sic] film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large. A online petition called for the film to be boycotted and it has so far received nearly 15,000 signatures. ‘Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals,’ the petition reads. ‘This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.’ Many “cis” people, though, will not have heard of the non-binary movement, nor even the words “cis” and “non-binary”. “Cis” is simple etymologically: from Latin, it is the opposite of “trans-” and means “on this side” of something. But it is hardly known in English: classicists know that Rome referred to “transalpine Gaul” and “cisalpine Gaul”, but “cisalpine” and “cismontane” (“on this side of the mountain”) are the only two “cis-“ entries in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Google Books data (though it is messy and to be treated with some caution) shows how much more common “trans” (red, in the chart below) is than “cis”, and despite the millions of books Google has scanned, the collection includes not a single instance of the word that “cis” is short for in today’s parlance, namely “cisgender” or “cisgendered”. Non-binary individuals obviously deserve the same respect all people do, but the binary sex system dividing male and female seems to many people as formidable as the Alps: hard enough to cross, but harder still to lived perched on top of.

Nearly every other languages classes nearly all ordinary nouns as masculine or feminine, though some, like German and Russian, also have neuter—but non-binary people don’t think they have “no” gender and understandably do not want to be called “it”, so neuter won’t do either. It has been used for centuries by great English writers in phrases like “everyone has their own opinion.” Facebook now allows people to choose it (“It’s X’s birthday: wish them a happy birthday!) Though the Zoolander protestors above first refer to All as “he” in the petition, presumably because of Mr Cumberbatch’s real-world identity, they go with “they” on second mention.

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