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Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Authentic Casting

Tim Gray at Variety:
The best picture Oscar for “CODA” was historic for many reasons — including the fact that it honored a film with authentic casting of Deaf people, after the disabled have been historically ignored or misrepresented in Hollywood.

So can we expect a flood of movies about the disabled? Maybe. The 2022 Oscar contenders show that so far it’s a trickle, not a flood. “Causeway,” “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” all feature authentic casting, with disabled characters played by disabled actors. (What a concept!)

“Cha Cha” writer-director-star Cooper Raiff says it never occurred to him to audition non-autistic actors for the central role of Lola, who is on the autism spectrum, as is the actress who plays her, Vanessa Burghardt.

Raiff tells Variety, “In a movie, I’m always trying to make a scene more real and authentic. And the first step is to cast someone who will play the role best. So to cast a neurotypical actor would be a waste of time. They would do research but wouldn’t have the heart.”

Burghardt says before “Cha Cha,” her agents usually didn’t reveal her autism: “There is a bias and I wouldn’t have gotten those auditions in the first place.”