Ian McKellen is teaming up with RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. star Divina de Campo to share the titular role in the upcoming stop-motion animated film, Dragfox.

McKellen, currently performing in a production of Henry IV, Parts One and Two on London’s West End, will voice Ginger Snap the Fox. De Campo, whose real name is Owen Farrow, will lend her vocals vocal to the character’s drag musical number.

The short film centers around a young trans protagonist, Sam, voiced by newcomer Aidan Gale. As Sam struggles with their identity, they are interrupted by a charismatic neighborhood fox. “Together, this unlikely duo embarks on a magical musical adventure where they discover surprising commonalities and learn to embrace the beauty of their differences,” a plot synopsis reads.

McKellan, who came out as gay in 1988, spoke about how the film resonates with his own journey. “When I was a kid growing up in South Lancashire just after the war, there were lots of things that preoccupied us, nobody really had time to wonder what it was like to be a little gay boy growing up at a time when that word hadn’t really been invented.”

“We were ‘queers,’” he continued. “We were looked at from other people’s points of view, and what’s important about growing up – as this film says – is to be yourself. Not in a selfish way but just in a life-affirming way. There was a total lack of that for me, as I suppose there is for trans people today. And often the best way to get a message over is not to make a speech or write a book, but to make people smile. Lead them in. Persuade them there’s nothing frightening going on. Which is exactly what this film does.”

De Campo finished as runner-up in the first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. She said of Dragfox: “Being a part of Dragfox is a dream come true. I get to share a role with an absolute hero and icon. More importantly, this film is not just a celebration of identity and diversity, but also a beacon of hope for anyone struggling to find their place in the world.”

“For a trans kid, it’s a seminal moment to see yourself reflected in films or TV. The story of Sam and Ginger Snap reminds us all that our uniqueness is our greatest strength, and that love and acceptance can be found in the most unexpected places.”

Dragfox is a stop-motion animated short film directed by Lisa Ott and produced by Owen Thomas. The filmmakers expressed the importance of celebrating a young trans protagonist, saying: “It was important for us to celebrate Sam and reflect to the world that if we truly sit down and listen to someone, we have the power to make the world a little bit less scary for them. Who better to deliver that message than the utterly captivating and innately kind, Sir Ian McKellen?”

The film’s score is recorded by The London Gay Big Band, a jazz orchestra composed of LGBTQ+ community members.

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