The queer-centered cheerleading movie Backspot has added Westworld and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story actress Evan Rachel Wood to its burgeoning roster. According to Variety, the critically acclaimed actress will join previously revealed cast members Kudakwashe Rutendo and Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs) in D.W. Waterson’s debut feature-length film as a filmmaker.
Backspot tells the story of two teenage queer athletes (Jacobs, Rutendo) who have powers well above those of their other cheer squad classmates. The premise sounds a lot like a fictionalised version of Netflix’s popular reality drama Cheer. The pair gets taken from their ordinary team and put into the big leagues when professional cheer coach Eileen McNamara (Wood) notices their abilities and commitment to the sport. They will then join the squad known as the Thunderhawks and exert all of their strength in an effort to win large and keep their spots on the team.
Evan Rachel Wood brings her queer storytelling expertise to new film ‘Backspot’
Wood is no new to the field of cinematic queer storytelling; most recently, he appeared in the psychological thriller Allure and the heist movie Kajillionaire, both directed by Miranda July. Without mentioning her role opposite Nikki Reed in the drama Thirteen from 2003 would also be negligent. Although it didn’t strictly have a queer-centered plot, it was (unfortunately) one of the movies of the era that represented the community the most accurately.
Saying that “the importance of excellence in queer storytelling has never been more necessary and attracting a dream cast that includes the transcendent genius that is Evan Rachel Wood is a testament to the quality of the Backspot production.” Smith went on to call Wood a “multidimensional talent” and a “natural raw strength” that viewers will see play out on the screen. The actress, who recently released a documentary named Phoenix Rising that highlighted her journey as an abuse survivor, received further praise from Smith.
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