Meet Eva Reign, Star of Billy Porter’s ‘Anything Is Possible’ – WWD

Four years ago, a high school student with a secret crush turned to Reddit for dating advice.

“There’s a trans girl [17 F] in my [17 M] school that I can’t get out of my mind,” the message began. The thread went viral – and caught the eye of screenwriter Ximena García Lecuona, who penned the “Anything Is Possible” screenplay inspired by the online conversation. After making the Blacklist, an annual list of the best unproduced screenplays, the film lands in the hands of Billy Porter. Released Friday on Amazon Prime, “Anything’s Possible” marks Porter’s directorial debut and Eva Reign’s acting debut.

“I was like, wait a minute – I think I know this thread,” Reign says as he reads an early draft of the script. “When this thread went viral and everyone was talking about ‘that guy who had a crush on that girl who was trans’, me and a bunch of my friends were talking about it. It was so interesting to then audition for a project inspired by that.

The Brooklyn-based actress began auditioning for the romantic comedy in the winter of 2021 and booked the role in late June 2021 — a day later she flew to Pittsburgh to begin production on the film. Reign stars as Kelsa, a confident young trans girl who catches the eye of her cis classmate Khal, who quickly falls head over heels. With the support of her fellow Reddit users, Khal works up the courage to ask her out on a date.

A still from the film.

Courtesy of ORION PICTURES

Porter described his “north star” for the project – which is set in his hometown – as joy, and the film remains upbeat even through its conflicted moments. “Billy never wanted an ounce of trauma to be in there. He was like, ‘I need this to stay happy, to stay light,'” Reign says, adding that the vision was to make a movie. high school in the vein of a John Hughes film.

“It was such a beautiful change to see [a film] it was going to be joyful and it was really central to making this trans girl happy, and not just trying to compound her trauma,” Reign says. “It was something I had never seen before, and honestly, something I didn’t think was possible. I didn’t think a major studio would ever be interested in something like this.

Reign recently attended the world premiere with his mother and sister. It was the first time she had watched the film in a large crowd. “It was very nerve-wracking because I was like, ‘OK. I hope everyone likes it, I hope they think I’m good,” Reign says of the experience. “It was fun to see everyone’s reactions to everything.”

Eva Reign at the premiere of

Eva Reign at the premiere of ‘Anything Is Possible’.

Eric Charbonneau

While the film is rooted in joy, not everyone was happy with the film’s ending. Without offering any spoilers, Reign describes the ending as authentic, even though it’s an uncommon tale for the teen rom-com genre. “It’s a very mature moment; a very true to life moment,” she says.

Reign, who also established a career as a journalist writing for outlets like The Cut, Vogue and Them, began acting as a teenager in St. Louis, Missouri. “Growing up, I was told I was talented and all that, but my high school theater director wasn’t very open-minded,” she says. “So being this budding trans person in high school in southern Illinois wasn’t really the best fit. So I stopped doing theater when I was 15.

She was brought back to acting after moving to New York. “I was sitting with a friend on the beach and she was like, ‘So you live in New York now, what do you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘Honestly, I really want to play.’ And she was like, ‘OK, then do it.’

When asked what kind of character she’d like to play next, Reign offers what at first glance seems like an unexpected answer: a “witch or psychic.”

“I was a kid who always loved X-Men and always loved movies around magic. I was definitely a Twihard [‘Twilight’ megafan] grow,” she says. “I think it’s time to see a trans girl play a witch. Which is a very specific thing, but I just want to name it…I’m really excited for what the future holds.

As they say, anything is possible.

WI_03136_REva Reign as Kelsa and Abubakr Ali as Khal in Billy Porter's directorial debut ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE An Orion Pictures Release Photo Credit: Tony Rivetti © 2022 Orion Releasing LLC.  All rights reserved.

Eva Reign portrays Kelsa and Abubakr Ali portrays Khal in “Anything Is Possible.”

Tony Rivetti

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