Cowboys, a modern-day Western folded into a family drama
The story at its core introduces us to Josie “Joe” (Sasha Knight), who is a 10 year old kid that is acutely aware he was born in the “wrong body” and identifies as a boy. Joe gets up the courage to tell his parents that he wants to nix the dresses his Mom keeps pushing on him and live and present as a young man. His parents’ response is mixed and friction arises between Troy (Steve Zahn) and Sally (Jillian Bell). At this point, Troy does what all good spouses do when you disagree on parenting – he flees the state with his son, in search of Canada (because everybody is kind there, as you know). Though, it’s much more complicated than that. While you’re probably thinking “GO ZAHHHN!”, he struggles with fractures in his own mental health that make running off into the wild, not the most solid parenting decision.
Preparing for our interview with the cast of Cowboys…
Two interviews were ahead of us. The first with Sasha Knight and Steve Zahn, followed by a conversation with Jillian Bell and Anna Kerrigan. While Sasha is playing a trans character, he is also trans “in real life.” It was so, so (so) important to me to non-creepily convey my admiration for his bravery to represent the trans community. I’m still not really sure if I succeeded, but you can listen to the interview to judge me quietly. Admittedly, while we were thinking through our questions for Knight and Zahn, I felt overwhelmed by all of my potential missteps or any possibility that I might hurt a single feeling. So, I phoned a friend (well, two actually). Our good friends daughter came out as trans a couple years ago and not only are they wonderfully supportive of their daughter, they are wonderfully supportive of educating their friends.
I asked so many nit picky questions – “can I say in the trans community? because if I say that, does it imply that you’re not in MY community?” Like, REALLY nit picky. I spent so must time worrying about what I wanted to say to Knight, I ran out of time to fully think through what I wanted to say to Steve Zahn and Jillian Bell.
Did the fear meet reality…
My goodness. Sasha Knight is the first child-actor I’ve interviewed and it totally triggered my Mom-mode. I sort of forgot Zahn was there for a bit and zeroed in on school and how much fun he had being a part of such a big movie. I was so impressed by the poise and polish of this young 10 year old, whose confidence is no doubt built on the foundation of his supportive parents (who were sweetly whispering in the background of the interview). Zahn reminded us that he was a part of the movie by jumping in on a few questions too.
And while I probably agree with with Brennan’s review, that Cowboys is entry level LGBTQ cinema, we all have to start somewhere!
Other places to follow Alternate Ending.