'Orange is the New Black' actor making documentary on CeCe McDonald

KRISTIN TILLOTSON | Updated 12/30/2013

Laverne Cox of "Orange is the New Black" is co-producing the film about the Minneapolis trans woman convicted of manslaughter.

Laverne Cox (left) talks with CeCe McDonald at the men's state prison in St. Cloud where McDonald is incarcerated.

Laverne Cox, who plays hair stylist and women's prison inmate Sophia Burset on the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," is co-producing a documentary about CeCe McDonald, the trans woman who became a cause celebre after being convicted of manslaughter following a 2011 fight sparked by racist and sexual slurs outside a Minneapolis bar that ended in the death of Dean Schmitz.

"I wanted to do a piece that explores the nature of how race, class and gender affect violence towards trans women," said Cox, who is trans in real life as well as on the show, in an interview with the online magazine Persephone. "Free CeCe!" has begun production and will continue to follow McDonald outside prison if she is released, as the Minnesota Department of Corrections website indicates she might be, in mid-January.

Laverne Cox in character on "Orange is the New Black."