EOTM Press Room

Documentary follows Chastity Bono’s transgender process

In Breaking News, Celebrity News on May 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

By: Tanya Blake

“I’ve hated my body since puberty,” Chaz Bono says on set of his new documentary “Becoming Chaz”.

The film, chronicling Chaz’s gender makeover and its aftermath, will premiere on OWN — the Oprah Winfrey Network — at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato met Chaz in the late 1990s, when he was still Chastity, Cher’s famously gay daughter and the media director for GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The team was shooting “The Real Ellen Story,” a behind-the-scenes look at comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ historic coming-out episode on her eponymous sitcom, and interviewed Chastity for the piece.

Years later, they received a phone call from their old friend, who was about to undergo sex-reassignment surgery — the removal of a pair of pendulous breasts — and massive injections of testosterone. More amazingly, longtime girlfriend Jennifer Elia, attracted to Chastity’s “magnetic smile” when the pair first met, had elected to stand by her transgendered man.

“Knowing that it was going to end up being covered by the media, he made the decision that he wanted to document it,” says Barbato by phone from his Los Angeles office. “And he came to us and asked us if we’d be interested, and we said yes — immediately.”

Barbato and Bailey started following Chaz in 2009 and hung around for a year and a half. The filmmakers had carte blanche to record whatever they liked.

“We showed up at his house with a camera, and we pushed the ‘on’ button. We didn’t know what the film was gonna end up being,” Barbato says.

But even the directors were surprised by what they got spending time with Chaz, Jen, the couple’s pride of hairless cats (you won’t be able to take your eyes off an especially obese one) and a Chihuahua named Rocco.

Photo Credit: Chris Hatcher / PR Photos

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