Bryan Cranston - Wheelchair Controversy

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Deskdiary | 08:48 Thu 10th Jan 2019 | News
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Should disabled character parts only be the preserve of disabled people?

Surely the point of being an actor is that you take on difficult and challenging parts, isn't it?

If disabled characters should only be portrayed by disabled actors, then presumably the specific disability should only go to actors with that disability - so in this particular case paraplegia. How many paraplegic actors are there? An actor without an arm is disabled, does that make him more qualified than Bryan Cranston to play the role?


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No. Actors portray other people.
As Naomi says, with the caveat that they can make it realistic.
what part of the word "actor" is troubling people? what next only real serial killers to play serial killers? what a load of old pony.
Let me know if any parts for fat middle aged white blokes come up, I'm your man! PMSL
And what about a new series of "Dracula" films?

"The Elephant Man" could be a bit tricky, too.
And films like My Left Foot.

What a silly suggestion.
And how are they going to cope with eg, "Reach for the Sky", where Douglas Bader starts off with two legs and ends up with none?
that would take real dedication from a method actor bhg
One appreciates than non-disabled roles that a disabled actor can fill might be less common (big roles anyway) but surely for a disabled character role the disabled actor has a built in advantage at the audition ? Best person for the job is a good criteria everywhere.
Anyway, they can always go and audition to play Tarzan.
// Anyway, they can always go and audition to play Tarzan. //

I've got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is, neither have you.

But there is a distinction between, say, actors portraying serial killers and actors portraying disabled people. No-one wants to widen access to the jobs market for serial killers, but having greater scope for disabled actors to break through into top jobs can hardly be a bad thing.

As Cranston said, though, there are also financial reasons. He's a good actor, he's a high-profile actor, and anything with him in it is going to be more successful than if the role had been given to an unknown.
It's preferable to get disabled actors to play disabled roles if you can find one that suits your purpose, because it adds a certain authenticity both to the role itself and in the Director / crew preparing for the role, but it's not fundamentally necessary. However roles for disabled actors are few and far between so on that basis I'd be somewhat loathe to give a role to an able actor if there was a suitable disabled actor, but what I think is more important tbh is that we cast disabled actors in more able bodied roles where it doesn't matter if they are able bodied or not. When I think about people locally with disabilities I encounter, we have a Downs Syndrome person works in the cake shop, one of the mechanics has a prosthetic leg he lost in a motorbike crash, the guy who runs the printers is in a wheelchair and I'm sure there are dozens more if I think about it, yet as an industry we rarely cast disabled actors unless it's a plot point for them to be disabled, and we need to start doing THAT much more to reflect normal society. x
kval // I think is more important tbh is that we cast disabled actors in more able bodied roles where it doesn't matter if they are able bodied or not. //

I think your first 'able bodied' is superfluous there. There should be more roles where the person's physical abilities are irrelevant, and therefore anyone can be cast.
Why do we have to reflect normal society in films when the majority of them are fiction?
Thanks Ludwig, not enough coffee yet :)
Films and TV are roughly split into credible and incredible, in credible things clearly thing have to be, well, credible, so Luther, Emmerdale, most cop and hospital shows take place in our real world and should reflect society accordingly. doesn't matter who or what rocks up in Dr who, Star Trek, Alien or Harry Potter.
// And films like My Left Foot. What a silly suggestion.//

and twelve monkeys
think of the training involved

and The Bride of Frankenstein - they'd be looking for her into the next century

yeah and who would be small enough to act in The Dolls House?

yeah and Uncle Vanya - finding a man who is an uncle is easy enough - I mean even Kevin Spacey is - but he is not called Vanya

yeah and having to build a theatre around a cherry orchard to perform Chekhov's play
If there is a paraplegic actor out there with the same high profile as Brian Cranston then I'm sure he would have been considered. Its a matter of funding the film and attracting Investors.
A quick google shows that there are quite a few films/TV programmes starring actors with real disabilities. ( Including Breaking Bad)
yeah think Kval ( hi Kval! ) Dr Who - they would need a time traveller

and as for Nighz suggestion of an actor plays other people
well peter o'toole always used to play himself ! ter daaah !

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