Chaz Bono "a regular Joe" says film director

Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:53pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Bob Tourtellotte

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - It may be hard to imagine, but the makers of new documentary "Becoming Chaz" want people to know that the little Chastity Bono they remember on Sonny and Cher's 1970s TV show -- the one who is now a man named Chaz -- is more like you than you think.

In fact, Chaz Bono is just "a regular Joe," says Randy Barbato, who along with his filmmaking partner Fenton Bailey produced and directed the movie documenting Chastity's recent sex change and transformation into Chaz.

Their non-fiction film, "Becoming Chaz," debuted on Sunday night here at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on Oprah Winfrey's new OWN cable TV network in May.

That Chastity Bono was a transgendered person who changed her sex via surgery and became Chaz is well-known, but until "Becoming Chaz," the details of the transition were kept out of the public eye.

But Barbato and Fenton, whose documentary work includes widely-acclaimed "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" knew Chaz's story all too well. They were friends of Chastity for years, and saw her struggle with gender identity. They say Chastity and Chaz are, of course, different. But, in fact, he is the same old she.

"The irony is that, in a way, Chaz is just a regular Joe," Barbato said. "The reason this film is surprising to people is because of how ordinary Chaz is. It's about the things we have in common," Barbato told Reuters.

The pair note that Chaz was in a loving relationship as Chastity and that has continued. And his feelings for his mom are no different than many people's feeling toward a parent.

"On one hand it's extraordinary, and there is celebrity. On the other hand, it's kind of ordinary," Barbato said.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Chaz Bono poses for the media before the screening of the film "Becoming Chaz" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart</p>