July 31, 2020  •  Ali  •  No Comment  •  Articles

Octavia Spencer is stepping up for disabled actors.

The 50-year-old star is urging Hollywood producers to cast more disabled actors to establish a more realistic cross-section of Americans in TV and movies.

During a video campaign for a private philanthropic foundation advocating for disabled inclusion, the “Ma” star recalled the first time she saw herself represented on screen.

“Women weren’t allowed to perform in theaters until 1660. All characters, whether male or female, were portrayed by men before then,” said Spencer, according to USA Today. “It has only been a few decades since white actors would portray Black, Asian and even Native American characters on screen.”

Spencer noted that not only do minorities feel marginalized by whites chronicling their tales but are forced to witness inaccurate character portrayals.

“But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities, as well,” said the three-time Oscar nominee. “Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

According to a press release, the foundation garnered a slew of star support with a 2019 open letter, which called on network and studio execs to create more opportunities for disabled actors.

The letter was signed by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Glenn Close, Joaquin Phoenix, George Clooney and Bryan Cranston.

Spencer, who is tied with Viola Davis for most acting nominations among African-American actresses, won in 2012 for her performance in “The Help.” She was nominated five years later for “Hidden Figures” and the following year for “The Shape of Water.”


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