Are people bothered by non-autistic actors playing autistic?

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Peter Cox
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28 Mar 2021, 8:57 pm

Hi,

I am an aspergers screenwriter and tv show 'creator'. I've done about a half dozen series. Just for context.

My 2 cents:

Being aspergers makes working in the industry difficult. I have a lot of behaviors, mostly around social things (eg talking too much, circularly; not being great with engaging with other people's ideas etc) + accompanying anxiety that requires a lot of work to keep in line. I've learned to deal with it okay though. Running a 'writer's room' is especially difficult depending on the people there. I spend 90% of my time on my own though working on scripts which is cool since that's how I prefer it :D

I've def come across other aspie type personalities as writers, but I haven't come across many people who seem aspie as actors. I suspect the level of social engagement inherent in the job it would just feel too stressful, so not many aspergers types would gravitate to it. So with a smaller ratio of aspie's engaging compared to the rest of the population + 99% of people who try to be actors don't really get anywhere with it, there are just not going to be many aspie actors out there that would be good.

I think an aspie actor *could* potentially bring real nuance to an aspie character though. A good actor who has insight and empathy could probably do an indistinguishably good job though. It would also depend a lot on the director too though.

Generally I am dubious about the notion of 'authenticity' though. A lot of what people think is 'authentic' is marketing to me - similar to 'a film by' works. 'Dramatically authentic' what's important, and that's not as simple as 'this person has this identity, so what they do will therefore be authentic'. It's more about the skill and dedication of the people involved crafting something carefully.

I have yet to see a consistently well portrayed fictional aspie character though. It all seems pretty cartoony to me, like a laundry list of stuff someone looked up on the internet (doesn't get puns? Okay, let's write a scene where he doesn't get a pun, etc). I blame the writers for that (mostly) though.



Tim_Tex
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29 Mar 2021, 2:09 pm

I have no problem with it, so long as it's not to ridicule us.


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Peter Cox
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29 Mar 2021, 4:04 pm

Good article here from an ASD actor:

https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/ ... ion-stage/



Tim_Tex
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03 May 2021, 12:18 pm

Spunge42 wrote:
ironpony wrote:

But I don't think it's bad if a nerotypical actor plays an autistic part. I'm autistic and have been cast in some nerotypical parts, so I feel I shouldn't have a problem if it's the other way around. I just think it's acting and you should go with whoever gives the best audition and seems like the best fit for the character.


I agree. The whole point of acting is to portray something your not. I'm not sure why people make a ruckus about such things, it makes no sense.


We have to tiptoe around everyone's feelings now. We live in a time where even mere criticism can be considered bullying.

The example I use is when they recently recast the non-white characters on the Simpsons. To me, so long as the voice doesn't sound too substantially different, I don't feel bothered by it. The only such instance so far is Kevin Michael Richardson's version of Dr. Hibbert. He just sounded like someone with throat cancer.

When Hank Azaria recently said he felt like he has to personally apologize to every South Asian person he sees (for voicing Apu), I found that to be way too melodramatic. He is being harder on himself than the South Asian community could ever be.

In either case, going by FB comment boards, a great deal of people have either boycotted the show or threatened to, because they feel the show is now "PC" or "woke", making me worried about the long-term future of the show.


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Sweetleaf
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03 May 2021, 1:27 pm

Not generally, that 'Music' movie bothers me though. Kinda makes a mockery of autistic people, like the autistic character is just kind of an object in the film in the middle of the other characters lives they are living, and yeah the acting comes off more as making fun of autistic people than genuinely trying to depict it. Even the actress from what I hear was concerned that the depiction was wrong but gave into Sia saying it was fine and people wouldn't hate the performance.

Also, there is a part where her caretakers violently and aggressively restrain her when she has a meltdown to 'calm' her down. Yeah lets encourage physically abusing autistic people.... :roll:. If the film had shown something like that in a context that it was wrong to happen that would be a little different, but context seems to be it's fine her caretakes did that to her.

And I do not care much for Sias attitude about the whole thing either.


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