Selena Gomez to Play Lesbian Mountain Climber in Biopic

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday November 12, 2020

The memoir of out Peruvian-American mountain climber Silvia Vásquez-Lavado's isn't due out until 2022, but Selena Gomez is already set to star as Lavado in the movie version, according to Hollywood Reporter.

"Titled 'In the Shadow of the Mountain,' the film is based on the upcoming memoir of the same name by Vásquez-Lavado, who became the first Peruvian woman to summit Mount Everest and the first openly gay woman to complete the Seven Summits, a challenge to climb the highest mountain on each continent," the Hollywood Reporter noted.

Some pushback has already started over the fact that Gomez, a straight actor, will portray an LGBTQ person, The Los Angeles Times reports.

"I love Selena I just wish this casting straight actors in LGBTQ roles phase would end! 'Love Simon,' 'Brokeback Mountain,' and so many more good films using straight actors," a response at Twitter said.

Another post quoted by the L.A. Times read, "i don't really care if straight actors play gay characters but i feel like it's disrespectful when it's a biopic for a real life gay woman but if she's alive and fine with it i guess it doesn't matter??"

The L.A. Times pointed out that "Vasquez-Lavado herself will be helping to executive produce the film, indicating her approval of the casting decision," and referenced an Instagram post in which the mountain climber wrote that she is "honored and touched for the bold, talented, and brilliant @selenagomez in taking the starring role."

A certain amount of pushback also greeted the casting of straight actors Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in out director Francis Lee's newest feature, "Ammonite," about a love story between two women in 19th-century England. Despite that controversy, the film has generated considerable attention and sparked Oscar rumors.

In addition to starring, Gomez is also producing "In the Shadow of the Mountain," along with Scott Budnick and Donna Gigliotti, the Oscar-winning producer of "Shakespeare in Love," Variety reports. Elgin James of "Little Birds" and "Mayans M.C." fame will write and direct.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.