Wheelchairs As Props…

I recently read an article involving disabled characters in movies who are not actually disabled and it got me thinking.
No. Actually. I’ve thought about this on multiple occasions.
Reading the article just made me realize how livid it makes me to see someone PLAY a disabled person. Like cmon, are there really not enough disabled individuals in the world to be an actor? Or do the real people with disabilities not have the potential? Or are the producers just lazy fucks and take the easy way out?
I’m sure these are all factors on some level but fuck that.
When I was little I had a dream that I wanted to become an actress. I wanted to be like Hannah Montana and Lizzie McGuire. I wanted the fame. I wanted everyone to know my name.
Scratch that. I still want to be famous. And I do want everyone to know my name. But acting may not exactly be my strong suit.
Anyways.

My point and message to the media world is that people with disabilities should play people with disabilities. Because when people like Eddie Redmayne WALK across that stage to accept a Golden Globe because he’s amazing at faking a disability he doesn’t have, it’s pretty insulting. Now I may be overreacting, but at the same time… I very highly doubt that in the casting call it said they were looking for someone preferably with a physical disability.

Try this on for size:

I found a casting call for a new that’s going to start shooting this summer. This is what the casting call says:
“Lead* Brian 30- 50 year old male preferably not athletic, office workeresque body. *must be able to swim* 35 ish white Male who just lost his job, his girlfriend broke up with him and his life is in shambles. He is a functional alcoholic, sci fi computer, and is a gaming nerd that goes to the sci fi / gaming convention circuits and hits the Renaissance faire and does what he can to escape”

Descriptive isn’t it? I actually wonder what Stephen Hawking’s casting call looked like. I’m sure there are disabled people in the world who want to be on the big screen.

Upon some small research I found out that Redmayne didn’t even get auditioned for the part. He was just offered it and accepted.
COME ON.
That’s not even giving others a chance. What if there were a swarm of people with disabilities lined up at the door waiting to audition for the part! I guess now we’ll never know..

I just want to see some more real disabled people in the media. To show that we do exist, we do live, and we do normal things. The media is the best way to send a message. And right now, the message people get about disabled people is sort of twisted. Our voices are little right now. And that needs to change.

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5 thoughts on “Wheelchairs As Props…

  1. You just said everything I have been saying all these years! It really takes the piss to use ‘able bodied’ people to portray ‘disabled’ I have heard actors say ‘I’m so grateful to have played that part of a disabled person! It really let me show my diverse acting skills!!!’ 😡
    I am a Comunity film maker who campaigns to get more disabled people in media work so I totally agree with you! Another reason why they don’t use real wheelchair users is because the storylines that have these characters nearly always end up with you seeing the disabled person get healed like a miracle has happened! The film and media industry need to change big time! I get that some films show a persons journey on how they became disabled and so on but why use actors that have never actually used a wheelchair!! Why can’t they use actors that have been through something similar. They could use wheelchair users who are mobile or people with conditions similar for storylines like that! And for storylines that have a wheelchair from the beginning they should only be allowed to employ wheelchair users! they need to respect disabled actors and actually write parts that are specifically made for them and not for an actor that has no disability’s at all to come along and get praised to only pretending to be disabled!!! Great article!!! 😊 Steph

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  2. I agree completely with everything you said. I’ve been disabled since I was 4 and growing up I never saw disabled people in the media. Once I did start seeing disabled roles I was ecstatic. That is until I realized none actually were. Then I was truly disappointed. Now I see very few actual disabled actors and feel like there could be more if given the chance.

    Years ago I dreamed of being on Glee because they were always looking for people who were ‘different’ but in reality very rarely do they actually use people who are different. I hope to one day write a script where the main character is in a wheelchair and will have to be played by a wheelchair bound person. None of that being healed in the end stuff because a person can be happy disabled.

    Great article!

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  3. While I think it’d be awesome if more disabled people got the roles to play disabled characters, I’m just happy there are disabled characters at all. I’m tired of watching some chick flick where the beautiful girl meets handsome guy and they fall madly in love, with of course a few humorous bumps along the way… Blah blah blah. I can’t relate to those movies. I am beautiful, I know that, but I’m not that kind of beautiful if that makes any sense. I’m not asking for a wheelchair James Bond (though just imagine the wheelchair gadgetry) just gimme something I can relate to.

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