Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NPR: A Disability Will Give A Character Depth

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates's story "Actors Play Beyond Disabilities" is excellent and spot on. But are Hollywood casting directors listening? Bates writes:

Michael Patrick Thornton's
ideal acting job would be one in which nobody ever mentions the chair. It would be just a feature, in other words, like having red hair or being pregnant — part of who the character is, but not the sum total.
.

Exactly. There are millions of disabled people in the world. Lawyers, doctors, teachers use wheelchairs everyday. In the real world, not all discussions, not all conversations are focused on the wheelchair. Sometimes, the wheelchair is just a piece of furniture hauling the occupant from point A to point B. Why can't Hollywood get that?

It is time for Hollywood casting agents to drop the barriers and start actively recruiting actors with disabilities for all kinds of acting roles.

What is the benefit to Hollywood? The character will be more believable. The character will have more depth. What is the benefit to society? The more people see people with disabilties as people first and disabled second, the less disablism there will be.

Listen to this excellent NPR broadcast: