Pose star Hailie Sahar is making the leap to the big screen in a new upcoming biopic about trailblazing trans performer Sir Lady Java, according to a report from Deadline. The film will be written and directed by Anthony Hemingway.
When we say legend, Java is what we mean. Before Stonewall, she was a popular performer in Los Angeles nightclubs, performing with Redd Foxx, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, and James Brown, among others.
She became so popular, that the LAPD felt threatened and started to enforce the infamous “Rule Number Nine” aganst her, which banned people from wearing clothes of the “opposite sex.” She teamed up with the ACLU to fight the law, arguing that it was unconstitutional and prevented her from earning income.
While the case was ultimately thrown out, she got a lot of attention in the media, and brought trans visibility to a community that desperately needed it. Without Sir Lady Java, trans performers today wouldn’t be the same, and wouldn't have the same opportunities. She is a true icon.
In the video below, Hemingway talks to not just Sahar, but the Lady Java herself (who is still alive) about being trans in the 60’s and the battles they fought, plus what viewers can expect from the film.
"I feel it’s necessary to tell [my story,]” Java said, “because many of my brothers and sisters got killed in my time. So I don’t care who doesn’t like it, I’m gonna tell it.” She knows she's put in the hard work, and she wants to share that with the world. “I was fighting for a man to have the right to wear what they wanted to wear,” she added, “and I won.”
“Now that people are paying attention to me, I’m able to be a creator and share more stories to uplift the community,” Sahar said, “I have the microphone, what am I going to say with it?”
Sahar is most known for her role as Lulu Abundance on FX’s Pose, and also can be seen in Freeform’s Good Trouble. This marks her first starring role in a film. She will also be producing.
Hemingway is the Emmy winning director behind Genius: Aretha Franklin. He’s also directed episodes of tv shows like Shameless, Glee, American Horror Story, and American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. His first feature film was 2012’s Red Tails.