Now that Chaz Bono has undergone gender reassignment, he wants to become a Hollywood leading man. The child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, who turns 44 on March 4, last acted on network TV in 1997; when he was still Chastity, Bono played a support group leader in the episode of Ellen in which Ellen DeGeneres' character came out to her parents.
Now, Chaz plays himself in the March 18 season premiere of ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. "One of the characters [George] is questioning the validity of his child [Robie] being his because the kid doesn't share his hair color," Bono says. "The producers were looking for someone like me who doesn't have the same hair color as their parents. It's a funny scene."
Bono, who was an NYU drama major, is currently enrolled in acting classes with a newfound commitment to the craft. "Being transgender, I couldn't really identify with any of the female characters I was playing," he shares. "The only roles I really excelled at were male roles I got to play in school, but I knew that couldn't happen in the real world."
While Cher hasn't shared details with her son about her deal with LOGO to produce a new TV series, Bono says he'd be thrilled to turn up on any of his favorite shows — including The Walking Dead, Shameless and Girls. "I'm good at playing really off characters and bad people," he says. "I really want to play against type and let people see me as someone other than myself."
But producers should think twice before asking him and Cher to costar in a TV-movie about their real-life struggles, a la 1994's Tears & Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story. "That probably wouldn't happen," he says. "It's hard to get those things made without looking cheesy. Plus, there are some healthy boundaries you don't ever want to cross."