GLAAD chats with Sophie Giannamore about 'The True Adventures of Wolfboy'

The True Adventures of Wolfboy, a new film starring young trans actress Sophie Giannamore, alongside John Turturro, Chloë Sevigny, Chris Messina, and Jaeden Martell, will screen on Saturday, October 26th at NewFest in New York City. Wolfboy has been on GLAAD's radar for quite some time, as the casting director reached out to us for help casting a trans teen to play Aristiana.

Written by screenwriter Olivia Dufault (PreacherLegion), the film follows a young boy, Paul (Jaeden Martell, It), who runs away from home in search of his estranged mother. Paul is the wolfboy of the title (he has hair all over his face) and he is struggling with his fear that his condition means the world will only ever see him as a freak. As Paul stumbles toward self-acceptance, he meets Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore) who has already made that journey herself as a young trans girl. The mirroring of Paul's experiences with Aristiana's life as a trans girl is unmistakable. As she accompanies Paul on their adventures, Aristiana embodies the self-knowledge that trans people possess, and she quietly shows Paul what it looks like to accept yourself as you are.

A trans woman herself, Olivia Dufault has written a different type of transition narrative; one that focuses on the internal, emotional aspect of transition, not on mirrors, bodies, and surgeries. And Aristiana is a different type of trans character - one who is confident and self-assured - a welcome change from stories that focus on trans tragedy. Wolfboy is a film that shows why trans stories are more rich and profound when trans people tell them.

Sophie Giannamore, who has also appeared in Transparent and will be in Showtime's The L Word: Generation Q, plays Aristiana with beautiful authenticity. We checked in with Sophie before the Newfest screening to chat with her about the film.

GLAAD: Wolfboy is a beautiful portrayal of the fears that trans people face when they consider transitioning (at any age.) Yet Paul (aka Wolfboy) is the character that experiences those fears, rather than your character, Aristiana, who is very confident and comfortable with herself. Did that aspect of the script appeal to you?

Sophie: Yes, it did appeal to me, because I could understand how much Aristiana had been through to have such a thick skin at such a young age. I mean, she's really super-jaded. But I think the reality is that a lot of marginalized people have to put on a brave face in order to survive and interact in the world. Aristiana is no exception, although she has found comfort being with other outcasts like Paul. There's one part in the film where Rose talks about how she "used to be" before she "made her cool," referring back to Aristiana's awful poetry recitations about horses! (LOL)

GLAAD: How did you find out about The True Adventures of Wolfboy?

Sophie: It happened pretty organically actually. I was contacted by the casting director, Avy Kaufman. She was told about me by an agent who had seen me in Transparent, with whom I have since signed.

GLAAD: Were there elements of the script that resonated with you as a young trans person?

Sophie: The prevailing theme that resonated most with me was how Olivia created these unique and wounded characters who all contrast so starkly with one another. And yet, as you eventually learn, it's their differences that separate them from the rest of the world and bring them together and create their deep bonds. As I get older, I see how this happens in real life.
GLAAD: What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

Sophie: I think the message is that we are all born with something that makes us feel different and we can use it against ourselves or we can learn to embrace it and love and accept ourselves. Hopefully, this movie will help to show people how to love themselves.

GLAAD: You also played Young Maura in season three of Transparent and in the musical finale. What else do you have coming up?

Sophie: I am actually really excited to be recurring in Showtime's upcoming sequel The L Word: Generation Q. I have also just received word that the director of the award-winning short film, The Real Thing that I starred in, is directing a feature film and is offering me a role. I am beyond thrilled at the prospect of working with Brandon again.

GLAAD: What type of stories about trans people you would like to see in the future?

Sophie: I would like to see trans projects with trans leads that do not rely exclusively on the character's "transness" and old stereotypes to tell the story. I'd like to specifically see less reliance on the sensationalized concept of "transition" and more focus on the human experience and internal struggles. Shows like TransparentPose and Euphoria have done this beautifully in my opinion.

Thanks to Sophie for chatting with us, and if you're in NYC, check out The True Adventures of Wolfboy on Saturday, October 26th at NewFest. We'll keep you updated when you can see Wolfboy in theaters or streaming.