On The Daily Show this past Thursday, host Trevor Noah opened an important discussion about the importance of casting performers with disabilities (PWDs) to play characters with disabilities in film and television. Due to the recent controversy surrounding an actor without a disability playing a quadriplegic character in the movie The Upside, performers with disabilities have raised their voices to address the dearth of roles for disabled people in Hollywood, and in Noah’s words, “completely opened my eyes to a perspective I never thought of.”
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The Upside‘s success as the #1 grossing film this past weekend proves that movies featuring disabled characters in a lead role can appeal to large audiences and be profitable at the box office. Imagine if people with disabilities regularly appeared in and told their own stories?