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Should someone without a disability play one in film/tv?

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San Lumen
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Should someone without a disability play one in film/tv?

Postby San Lumen » Sun Dec 04, 2022 6:34 pm

This is a topic that comes up sometimes on the left and I've seen it here a few times.

The argument is if an actor/actress does not have a certain disability or certain traits they should not play the part. For example a deaf character should only by played by deaf actor, a gay person cannot be played by someone who is straight. Are we going to say gay actors can't play straight people? Should Charlie Cox not play Matt Murdock/Daredevil because he's not blind?

I think its completely stupid. The whole point of acting is to be something your not and convince someone you are that. Eddie Redmayne for example did a great job portraying Stephen Hawking and the progression of his ALS.

Obviously a character who is black should be played someone of the demographic and I do think gay actors should get roles playing gay characters but some take it way to too far. What is your take NSG?
Last edited by San Lumen on Sun Dec 04, 2022 6:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby The Black Forrest » Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:18 pm

Acting is the ability to portray something you are not.

The fact a person represents a particular culture or disabled is irrelevant. Such a person might be factual and yet be a horrid actor.
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:59 pm

Seems to me that the opinions that matter here are those of the members of the community being portrayed. I would think that, in general, a person who actually has the disability in question will give a move authentic performance than someone who does not, but if blind people are generally fine with Charlie Cox playing Matt Murdock then I will defer to them on that score.

Though I will say that these...
San Lumen wrote:...The whole point of acting is to be something your not and convince someone you are that....Obviously a character who is black should be played someone of the demographic and I do think gay actors should get roles playing gay characters...

...are very funny things to say back to back. Acting is all about being something you're not, except sometimes acting is all about being something that you are.
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Shermania
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Postby Shermania » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:07 pm

I don't know a single blind person who enjoyed watching Charlie Cox play Daredevil.
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Pasong Tirad
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:12 pm

San Lumen wrote:but some take it way to too far

It's a scaremongering tactic from more traditional folks in the entertainment industry to assume that people from underrepresented communities are taking it "way too far" with respect to wanting folks from those communities to play characters that represent them on screen, stage or radio. Nobody expects an actual blind person to play a blind superhero who can do 5-minute-long fight scenes while doing gymnastic twirls here and there. Nobody expects a person with actual ALS to portray themselves pre-deterioration. This is a stupid topic.
Last edited by Pasong Tirad on Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:21 pm

I think the important thing is portraying it in a way that's convincing.

That does not always mean the actors have to have the same disability as a character they're playing, but it might be a good idea to talk to some people who do have the disability and get an understanding of how it works so you can avoid inaccurate stereotypes.
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Postby Repreteop » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:27 pm

Shermania wrote:I don't know a single blind person who enjoyed watching Charlie Cox play Daredevil.


The blind community forgives Charlie Cox.
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:29 pm

Pasong Tirad wrote:
San Lumen wrote:but some take it way to too far

It's a scaremongering tactic from more traditional folks in the entertainment industry to assume that people from underrepresented communities are taking it "way too far" with respect to wanting folks from those communities to play characters that represent them on screen, stage or radio. Nobody expects an actual blind person to play a blind superhero who can do 5-minute-long fight scenes while doing gymnastic twirls here and there. Nobody expects a person with actual ALS to portray themselves pre-deterioration. This is a stupid topic.

I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.
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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:30 pm

USS Monitor wrote:I think the important thing is portraying it in a way that's convincing.

That does not always mean the actors have to have the same disability as a character they're playing, but it might be a good idea to talk to some people who do have the disability and get an understanding of how it works so you can avoid inaccurate stereotypes.


On this I can agree.

Ifreann wrote:
Pasong Tirad wrote:It's a scaremongering tactic from more traditional folks in the entertainment industry to assume that people from underrepresented communities are taking it "way too far" with respect to wanting folks from those communities to play characters that represent them on screen, stage or radio. Nobody expects an actual blind person to play a blind superhero who can do 5-minute-long fight scenes while doing gymnastic twirls here and there. Nobody expects a person with actual ALS to portray themselves pre-deterioration. This is a stupid topic.

I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.


because that's the whole darn point of acting.

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Postby Ifreann » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:36 pm

San Lumen wrote:
USS Monitor wrote:I think the important thing is portraying it in a way that's convincing.

That does not always mean the actors have to have the same disability as a character they're playing, but it might be a good idea to talk to some people who do have the disability and get an understanding of how it works so you can avoid inaccurate stereotypes.


On this I can agree.

Ifreann wrote:I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.


because that's the whole darn point of acting.

Image
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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:53 pm

Ifreann wrote:
San Lumen wrote:
On this I can agree.



because that's the whole darn point of acting.

Image


Im sure Charlie Cox has a stunt double for some things.

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Postby Bakivaland » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:56 pm

Actors are just that, actors.

An actor is someone who is portrayed and plays as someone who they aren't. Someone who is acting as a disabled person is acting, they aren't poking fun at the disability or shaming people that have the disability (usually).
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:02 pm

Ifreann wrote:
Pasong Tirad wrote:It's a scaremongering tactic from more traditional folks in the entertainment industry to assume that people from underrepresented communities are taking it "way too far" with respect to wanting folks from those communities to play characters that represent them on screen, stage or radio. Nobody expects an actual blind person to play a blind superhero who can do 5-minute-long fight scenes while doing gymnastic twirls here and there. Nobody expects a person with actual ALS to portray themselves pre-deterioration. This is a stupid topic.

I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.

But my point is that Lumen is creating a strawman out of nowhere claiming that certain demographics are being unreasonable with the degree to which they want themselves to be faithfully portrayed on screen, stage or radio. Nobody with any kind of merit actually complained about Redmayne portraying Hawking. But people did raise valid concerns about his portrayal of a transwoman, especially when it would have been the easiest thing in the world to cast an actual trans woman for the role.

San Lumen wrote:
Ifreann wrote:I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.


because that's the whole darn point of acting.

I don't think anybody should trust you with knowing "the whole darn point of acting" even if you were the last casting director left in the world.

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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:04 pm

San Lumen wrote:
Ifreann wrote:I mean, why couldn't a blind person play Daredevil? Stunt doubles do exist. Charlie Cox probably isn't doing doing all those gymnastic twirls.


because that's the whole darn point of acting.


Ehh... That doesn't mean you CAN'T use a blind actor to play a blind character.

I think it's something that people should be able to figure out on a case by case basis, what makes sense for that specific role. I lean toward thinking it wouldn't be worth the trouble to have an actual blind person play Daredevil, but there are other roles where casting a blind person would be exactly the way to go. There's a trade-off where someone's disability might get in the way of filming, but it also might give you an extra touch of realism. So you've got pros and cons that you need to weigh for each role.

And I think you're falling into a bad habit where you repeat the same arguments over and over, even when they don't quite address the post you are replying to. This is a good topic for a debate, but it's not going to be a productive debate if every 3rd post is just you saying some variation of, "That's the whole point of acting!"
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Postby Vikanias » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:06 pm

I don’t see a problem with it, because if we have a blind actor play a blind character it’s gonna be a who lot harder to film because the aforementioned is blind.
Last edited by Vikanias on Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ifreann
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Postby Ifreann » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:13 pm

San Lumen wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Image


Im sure Charlie Cox has a stunt double for some things.

But blackface is unacceptable. Is there a consistent principle underlying these seemingly contradictory beliefs?
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Postby PhilTech » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:23 pm

Of course.

Acting is a talent. It's either you make it believable and natural or not, it depends on the skills of the actor.

The same formula goes with disabled individuals. Although they already have that realism part checked, if they have terrible acting skills, then no bueno, simple as that.

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Postby Rusozak » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:32 pm

Ifreann wrote:
San Lumen wrote:
Im sure Charlie Cox has a stunt double for some things.

But blackface is unacceptable. Is there a consistent principle underlying these seemingly contradictory beliefs?


There's a cultural and historical context to blackface that makes it a lot more than just being about an actor wearing makeup to appear as a different skin tone. Otherwise the opposite, black people in "whiteface", would be just as controversial.
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Postby Kerwa » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:34 pm

I’m with Berthold Brecht. In order to introduce Verfremdungseffeckt Dare Devil should be played by an able bodied actor in a wheelchair. Occasionally he (or preferably she) should just get up and walk around for no reason and without explanation, while remaining in the chair for all the action sequences of course.

It would vastly improve the production.
Last edited by Kerwa on Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Kerwa » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:35 pm

And Charlie Cox probably isn’t even American, while we are at it.

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Postby USS Monitor » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:41 pm

Rusozak wrote:
Ifreann wrote:But blackface is unacceptable. Is there a consistent principle underlying these seemingly contradictory beliefs?


There's a cultural and historical context to blackface that makes it a lot more than just being about an actor wearing makeup to appear as a different skin tone. Otherwise the opposite, black people in "whiteface", would be just as controversial.


Black people trying to look white is pretty controversial....
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:50 pm

Kerwa wrote:I’m with Berthold Brecht. In order to introduce Verfremdungseffeckt Dare Devil should be played by an able bodied actor in a wheelchair. Occasionally he (or preferably she) should just get up and walk around for no reason and without explanation, while remaining in the chair for all the action sequences of course.

It would vastly improve the production.

But in this specific instance, one of the main points that make a successful Brechtian performance includes constantly reminding playgoers that what they are watching is a performance, hence the need for techniques to make sure that spectators are prevented from turning into audience members - notable casting decisions, breaking the fourth wall, etc. etc. etc. Like Monitor noted, these kinds of decisions need to be taken up on a case by case basis while taking into account certain factors - including the availability of actors from said underrepresented communities, the needs of the production, etc. etc.

But as I've stated, the two examples Lumen provided - Redmayne portraying a person with ALS, Cox portraying a blind person with heightened other senses - nobody has actually complained about these performances. Whatever point he was trying to make by bringing up these two specific instances where it would be next to impossible for an actual member of the two highlighted disabled communities to portray them faithfully on the screen is meaningless at this point.
Last edited by Pasong Tirad on Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The Gas Kussolova » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:54 pm

The Black Forrest wrote:Acting is the ability to portray something you are not.

The fact a person represents a particular culture or disabled is irrelevant. Such a person might be factual and yet be a horrid actor.


^ This

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Postby Rusozak » Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:56 pm

USS Monitor wrote:
Rusozak wrote:
There's a cultural and historical context to blackface that makes it a lot more than just being about an actor wearing makeup to appear as a different skin tone. Otherwise the opposite, black people in "whiteface", would be just as controversial.


Black people trying to look white is pretty controversial....


But not nearly to the same degree. White Chicks didn't cause an uproar and destroy careers.
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Postby Reploid Productions » Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:04 pm

I don't see anything inherently wrong with having a non-disabled actor portray someone with that disability in film/tv... but folks who actually have to live with that particular disability should be included in the research phase of writing the script so that we're not seeing the same tired stereotypes and instead have a more accurate and realistic portrayal of that disability. Representation is important, but moreso is accurate representation. Way too often you see shortcuts and stereotypes that can make that "representation" actually pretty NOT-representative due to being so divorced from the reality of those disabilities. (ex: signal the audience that "this character is blind" by having them wear sunglasses/use a white cane," conveniently ignoring that the category of "legally blind" does NOT automatically mean "cannot see anything," etc.)

Now, if you've got someone with that disability who is also a good actor, then sure, they can probably give a better performance of "character with that disability" than a similarly-skilled actor WITHOUT that disability. But on the flipside, it's also not very fair for actors who have disabilities to end up stuck being typecast BY their disability. (See also: Peter Dinklage refusing to play "elves or leprechauns" and his original hesitation when offered the role of Tyrion on Game of Thrones until he found out that Tyrion is a challenging and complicated character who happens to have dwarfism and not simply because "need actor with dwarfism to play dwarf character.")
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