The recent comedy The Upside has caused somewhat of a controversy for casting actor Bryan Cranston as a quadriplegic man.
Critics of Cranston’s casting argued that the role should have been played by an actor with disabilities.
In response, he told the Press Association, “We live in the world of criticism, if we’re willing to get up and try something, we have to also be willing to take criticism. We’re very aware of the need to expand the opportunities for people with disabilities … If, as a straight, older person, and I’m wealthy, I’m very fortunate, does that mean I can’t play who is not wealthy, does that mean I can’t play a homosexual? I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, Where is the line for that? I think it is worthy for debate to discuss those issues.”
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah offered some thoughtful commentary about the topic, saying that he had his mind changed about the issue after hearing the thoughts of an actor who is currently in a wheelchair. Paraphrasing the actor, Noah said, “I never see parts for leading roles for a person in a wheelchair. And so the one time I see a role where there’s a person in a wheelchair, I think, ‘Wow, this could be it. This could be the moment I have all the tools necessary to play this part.’ Do I get a shot at playing it?”
It’s a thoughtful, gracious discussion that is absolutely worth the watch.