‘Clarice’ Addresses ‘Complicated Legacy’ Of Buffalo Bill, Says Actress Jen Richards

CBS is preparing to bring “Silence of the Lambs” back to screens with “Clarice,” a new adaptation that will address the “complicated legacy” of Buffalo Bill.

Jen Richards — the trans actress, writer, and advocate known for her work on shows like “HerStory,” “Nashville,” “Better Things,” and “Blindspot”  — has been cast in the upcoming horror film adaptation. She’s set to play a trans woman who chats with the titular character about the past of Buffalo Bill, the serial killer who appeared in the original 1991 film.

“All I can say is that the character intersects with Clarice’s storyline in a way that her transness isn’t central to her storyline, but her identity as a transgender woman prompts her to discuss with Clarice the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill,” said Richards during a virtual premiere event.

Buffalo Bill, whose real name in the movie is Jame Gumb, is a serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs” who murders and skins women in order to make a “woman suit” for himself. While he’s never explicitly stated to be trans, both the novel and film adaptation seem to depict him as having signs of gender dysphoria.

Richards said she was interested in creating discussions about Buffalo Bill, who was played by Ted Levine in the film, specifically because of how he had been a negative representation for the transgender community. She also noted that she was happy the writing team on “Clarice” wanted to “address the complicated, horrible legacy in a way that didn’t reduce it to that one issue” by featuring a “trans character that was part of the story but didn’t reduce it to a stereotype.”

“Clarice” is set to take place a year after FBI Agent Clarice Starling, portrayed by Rebecca Breeds, caught Buffalo Bill. The show also stars Kal Penn, Nick Shadow, Lucca de Oliveira, and Michael Cudlitz and is set to premiere on February 11th on CBS.

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