Trans “L Word” actress Jamie Clayton will play Pinhead in upcoming Hellraiser remake

Trans “L Word” actress Jamie Clayton will play Pinhead in upcoming Hellraiser remake
Actress Jamie Clayton attends the Netflix "Sense8" Season 2 premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in New York. Photo: Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP

Transgender actress Jamie Clayton has been cast as the iconic villain Pinhead in the latest Hellraiser film. She will be both the first woman and first trans person to take on the role.

Clayton, 43, is known for playing Tess on Showtime’s The L Word: Generation Q, as well as Nomi on Netflix’s Sense8. 

Related: ‘L Word: Generation Q’ has cast two transgender actresses, but how will it handle them?

In Hellraiser, she will take on Pinhead’s devilish persona as leader of the Cenobites, a group of demonic beings who live in another dimension and are released into the human world through a puzzle box.

When news broke of Clayton’s role, she posted a photo of herself to social media with the puzzle box in hand.

She wrote, “Demons to some. Angels to others,” a quote from the original Hellraiser film, released in 1987.

Director David Bruckner told Entertainment Weekly that Clayton “fully embodies the role as the Hell Priest,” adding that “we’re aiming to create a very special new chapter in the Hellraiser legacy.”

There have been a total of 10 movies in the Hellraiser franchise spanning from 1987 to 2008. Pinhead has previously been played by Doug Bradley, Stephan Smith Collins, and Paul T. Taylor. Pinhead was also turned into a Marvel Comics character.

The original Hellraiser was based on a novella by Clive Barker called The Hellbound Heart. Barker then transformed it into the first film, which he wrote and directed.

In a 2017 essay for The Guardian, Barker, who is gay, said he based Pinhead’s look on S&M clubs. “I was emotionally inspired by them, too,” he added. “On S&M’s sliding scale, I’m probably a 6.”

“There was an underground club called Cellblock 28 in New York that had a very hard S&M night. No drink, no drugs, they played it very straight. It was the first time I ever saw people pierced for fun. It was the first time I saw blood spilt. The austere atmosphere definitely informed Pinhead.”

The film has also been repeatedly touted as a queer classic.

Barker has not had the rights to Hellraiser in decades, but he won them back in a recent lawsuit. As of December 19th, 2021, the American rights will be his again, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Barker is also a producer of the new film, which has already finished production and will be released sometime in 2022.

“Having seen some of the designs from David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser film, they pay homage to what the first film created, but then take it to places it’s never been before,” Barker said in a statement. “This is a Hellraiser on a scale that I simply didn’t expect. David and his team are steeped in the story’s mythology, but what excites me is their desire to honor the original even as they revolutionize it for a new generation.”

Fans of Clayton celebrated the announcement of her role on Twitter.

“Casting Jamie Clayton as the new Pinhead in the reboot of Hellraiser is a stroke of absolute genius,” one user wrote.

“Reboots normally annoy me,” wrote another, “but casting Jamie Clayton makes so much sense for the character and I’m so here for it. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also a badass actor.”

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