Much has been made recently about actors being honored for performances in which they simulate disabilities that they do not actually have. Hong Chau pretended to have a limp in last year’s Downsizing, earning accolades and best-in show reviews in part for her mimicry of something she researched. Joaquin Phoenix portrays a quadriplegic cartoonist in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. At a Q & A for the film, director Gus Van Sant was asked about more inclusionary casting featuring real people with disabilities, to which he responded that acting has always been about people pretending to be something else, whether it’s gay, foreign with an accent, or something physical. In these times where terms like “inclusion rider” are increasingly calling for diversity of all sorts in the production process, it’s understandable that all people would want the chance to see themselves portrayed authentically on screen.
Abe Fried-Tanzer, a Jewcy contributor, writes about film at www.movieswithabe.com.