Talk to Me, an Australian supernatural horror film, has been denied distribution in Kuwait, which is regarded as the region’s strictest censorship sector.
The movie’s rejection in the Gulf marks a notable instance of a film being banned from release due to the gender identity of one of its cast members – Zoe Terakes – even though this information is not referenced within the film itself.
Terakes was also cast in the TV series Ironheart last year, making them the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first transgender actor.
Kuwait, and the Gulf region in general, has a well-established history of banning films that include LGBTQ scenes or references. Recent examples of banned movies include Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Thor: Love and Thunder, Lightyear, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Eternals, and West Side Story over the past couple of years.
However, the recent ban of a film solely because of the gender identity of one of its cast members, despite no mention of it within the movie itself, is seen as a concerning and new development. This trend could potentially raise worries about the treatment of LGBTQ talent in the region in the future.
Despite the situation in Kuwait, Talk to Me has been released without any edits in all other Gulf countries.