Casting Directors Under Pressure to Represent Today’s America in Film, TV
When Linda Lowy was casting the pilot for “Grey’s Anatomy” more than a decade ago, she had only one edict from creator Shonda Rhimes regarding skin color — Miranda Bailey had to be white. Rhimes envisioned the character as a petite blonde whose mousy frame would contrast with a fierce intellect and fiercer demeanor, both of which would intimidate the show’s young doctors in training. Kristin Chenoweth tested for the role. But then Lowy saw a taped audition from an African-American actress named Chandra Wilson.
Disabled actors and advocates plead to Hollywood: ‘Give us a chance, please!
When Hollywood discusses diversity, it tends to focus on race, gender and, maybe, sexual orientation — but it almost always ignores disability. This was the consistent refrain and impetus behind the Ruderman Studio-Wide Roundtable on Disability Inclusion held Tuesday in Beverly Hills by the Ruderman Family Foundation.
“There is something wrong with this picture,” said Marlee Matlin, an Oscar-winning actress. “We as an industry keep talking about diversity — we know we have a problem. But, sadly, when we start speaking about diversity, disability seems to be left out far too often.”
Actors With Disabilities Speak Up: “Just Give Us A Chance”
“This conversation is so necessary because there are 56 million Americans with a disability. That is 20% of the population. But if you judged our existence by what you Marlee Matlin. see on TV, you would think we made up less than 1%,” said actress Marlee Matlin. “Movies aren’t much better — there is something wrong with the entire picture.”
Matlin’s comments came today at the first-ever (and long overdue) Disability Inclusion Roundtable held in Beverly Hills, where Matlin, RJ Mitte, Danny Woodburn, Micah Fowler and Orlando Jones took the stage to talk about the most unrepresented minority in Hollywood — people with disabilities, those who are often forgotten as part of the diversity landscape.