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Susan Sarandon's 'sex swap' Christian teen film to premiere in Belfast

By Allan Preston

Published 02/08/2016

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
A scene from new documentary Deep Run, produced by Susan Sarandon

A new film produced by veteran Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon that tells the story of a teenage boy's startling journey from evangelical Christian to undergoing sex change surgery will have its UK premiere in Belfast.

Talking about her latest movie, the Thelma and Louise star told the Belfast Telegraph that she feels the "rules" that evangelical Christians live by are "becoming untenable" in today's world.

Belfast's Dublin Road cinema will host the UK premiere of Deep Run tomorrow evening as part of the Belfast Film Festival.

The documentary follows the story of Cole, an evangelical Christian teenager in the bible belt of North Carolina, transitioning from male to female.

"Cole was kind of a punk, evangelical, teenage lesbian in a place which is not particularly generous to anyone that's different," Sarandon said.

"There are people who find themselves in the wrong body that can barely get work and are struggling to stay alive in communities where there is an enormous amount of prejudice and it's really unsafe for them.

"But in the United States to do all these things, getting hormones and sex change operations, is really expensive. Caitlin Jenner is not indicative of what's really going on."

Asked if she sees any parallels between Cole's conservative environment and Northern Ireland - where gay marriage is still illegal - she said: "I listen and sympathise with people that have a certain framing of the world that is collapsing. And rules that are becoming untenable, I understand how threatening that can be, it's certainly more difficult."

Although Cole is shunned by his family and physically attacked for his choices, he still maintains a strong Christian faith.

"The evangelical aspect is so interesting," she said. "That Cole so desperately wants to hold on to religion and be part of a community and be accepted. It would be much easier if he was trying to exist in New York or any major city where there's an alternative lifestyle that's accepting, but he doesn't do that."

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