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01/23/2019 / By Ethan Huff
Hollywood has discovered yet another non-issue over which to be outraged: able-bodied actors who play disabled characters in television and film.
During a recent episode of The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah, who back in 2017 interviewed Barack Obama about election tampering. discussed how he was recently awakened to the problem of actors who aren’t actually in wheelchairs playing them in mainstream media entertainment – and how this isn’t okay.
The subject arose after Noah read an article online by a disabled actor in a wheelchair who explained how he’s routinely passed up for acting roles, including those where the character is disabled just like he is in real life.
While an actor restricted to a wheelchair would never have the capacity to play an able-bodied role, able-bodied actors are able to play both – and this apparently isn’t fair.
The wheelchair-bound actor, whom Noah didn’t name, wrote his article in response to recent controversy over able-bodied actor Bryan Cranston accepting a role in the upcoming film On The Upside that involves him pretending to be paralyzed.
When questioned about this decision, Cranston told the media that while there’s definitely a need “to expand the opportunities for people with disabilities,” his decision to take the role is no different than a straight actor playing the role of a homosexual, or a wealthy actor – as virtually all of them are – playing the role of a poor person.
“I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that?” he asked. “I think it is worthy for debate to discuss those issues.”
Noah says that, initially, he agreed with Cranston’s assessment. But after reading the article by the disabled actor, he’s since changed his views.
“I’m not gonna lie, my first instinct – because I love Bryan Cranston – my first instinct was like, are you being serious?” Noah stated during a casual conversation with his viewing audience.
“C’mon, man. We’re going too far now. You can’t – like, they’re actors. Actors are gonna act. If we get everyone who is the thing to be the thing, then it’s not acting, then it’s just the thing, it’s a documentary.”
But the online article was apparently so compelling that Noah now sees it from a different perspective. Because the wheelchair-bound man is routinely passed up for roles, both able-bodied and disabled in nature, he isn’t doing so well in Hollywood – and this bothers Noah.
“I sat there and I was like, it’s powerful because you don’t think about representation, you don’t think about how important it is for people to see themselves onscreen in a real way,” Noah added.
“And at the same time, I don’t think Bryan Cranston did anything wrong. I don’t think everything has to be a fight. It’s just, like, a moment to be like, hey, maybe next time people in Hollywood can look at that and go, maybe you can get a relatively unknown actor to play that role and then put an A-lister opposite them and maybe this becomes their breakout. Maybe this becomes the thing that blows them up.”
But rather than actually do something about this apparent problem, Noah instead chose to virtue signal without putting his money where his mouth is. Worse yet, Noah was recently in the news for dropping $20 million on a posh estate in the gated Los Angeles community of Bel Air.
“Now that is funny!” joked Information Liberation‘s Chris Menahan about Noah’s hypocrisy.
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