Disability in Film

I recently had the pleasure of meeting an amazing man named Tim. His disability positive views are refreshing and much needed in the disability dialogue. I encourage you to check out his website and blog!

Felicity Jones, Dr. Stephen Hawking, and Eddie Redmayne

I wanted to share a piece Tim wrote yesterday on his blog about disability in film. Very often, non-disabled actors play the roles of disabled characters, such as seen in this year’s Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne for his role as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything“. In his blog post, Tim explains his views on non-disabled actors playing disabled characters as well, he asks questions about to the film industry in regards to disability.

Below is an excerpt from Tim’s blog post, Disability in Film.

“Some have said that actors with disabilities may struggle in the highly competitive world of film and TV. Deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who has an Oscar and a decades-long show business  career to her name, is proof that this argument does not hold weight. Others have suggested that actors with disabilities would be limited in what they could do on screen (see Glee’s Kevin Mchale’s dancing dream sequence). But that excuse just rings of unimaginative storytelling. The fact is that if, in 2015, African American characters were being given to Caucasian actors without that lived experience, you can bet there would be an outcry. The film and television industries need to be less willing to lean on their excuses with regards to disability.” -Tim Rose, Disability Positive Consulting, Blog, Feb 22 2015

Please also check out The Rose Centre for Love, Sex, and Disability which was founded by Tim and his wife, Natalie.

What are your thoughts on disability in film?


8 thoughts on “Disability in Film

  1. I definitely think we need to be more creative in writing individuals with disabilities into film and television. “Breaking Bad” had a great character played by a young man with cerebral palsy. However, in the case of a biopic like “Theory”, they wanted to be able to show the progression of the disease from pre-diagnosis onwards. So I do understand why they chose and able-bodied actor.

    • Did you know that the actor in Breaking Bad had to act the disability out more? His cerebral palsy is mild so he studied up on what a more severe case would be like. Still, he has the experience, he has a fantastic base and it’s exactly who should have been playing Walt Jr.

      I also understand wanting to show the progression. I didn’t know that it was ALS Hawking has! (Clearly I’ve been living under a rock)

      Thanks for your comment!

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