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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Me before you ? Are disabled lives worth less? #liveboldly

So there has been a lot of controversy over the new film by Warner Bros “Me before you”, especially over the pond. I haven’t seen anything on the news about it but plenty over social media and not so many complaining from the UK either. Now I can’t comment on the film as I have not seen it, nor do I intend to see the film it’s a chick flick and not my thing, but I have seen the trailer and the various points made by the disabled community.
Follow the link to see a video from center for Disability Rights  https://www.facebook.com/rochestercdr/videos/10153969290727550/

I can honestly say I can see where people are coming from regarding how it portrays disabled people, it basically says one of two things from what I have seen. The first being someone who is disabled needs an abled bodied person to make their life complete and show them how to live and secondly that if you are disabled then your life is over, you’re screwed and it’s not worth continuing with. I do think that some of the comments regarding it sending a message of just kill yourself might be a bit extreme but again I can see how it would seem that way. From as far back as I remember Hollywood has always used the infirm, disabled and disfigured as victims, evil villain (apart from Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector, but that was so ridiculous in my opinion don’t get me started on that one), or a figure of ridicule, needing rescuing or /and unable to do anything for themselves, the feeble side kick. Black actors complain about being left out of the Oscars but disabled actors are left out of the film industry.

I think, for me personally, the biggest issue I have is the fact that there are so many actors out there who have a disability, but Hollywood still pick abled bodied actors to play the roles. Why? Is it as simple as big names draw people and up the coffers in box office sales? Too scared to try an unknown?  I am a member of Amputees in Hollywood and a few years ago I answered a casting call to play Gazelle in The Kingsman due to being a double knee amputee and that was the criteria they were looking for. Lo and behold they picked a perfectly healthy and fit dancer who had both her legs and green screened the running blades. Now fair enough am no stick thin, sporty type far from it,( in fact weebles wobble but don’t fall down would better describe me) but like other people before me the weight could have been lost, I could have worn the running blades and the stunts still would have been carried out using stunt doubles or green screen and wires. However this said I may not have fit the director’s image of how she would look facially or age wise. Each director/producer has an idea or image of how their characters look or sound before casting begins so we can’t just say “you must pick a disabled person to play a disabled role” it’s not that simple, but it would be nice if they looked more at disabled actors first and not just automatically count them out.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see someone who was disabled being the hero for once? Or save the day? Ones I can think of is Rear Window with Christopher Reeve and Dare Devil. Win the girl because of their charm and sex appeal not out of sympathy or compassion. When I do reviews at Film conventions, one of the reasons I try to talk to the actors is to find out how they feel about things like this in the film industry including mental health.


I hope these people that are posting it all over social media and protesting against the message the film is sending, realize that all they are doing is helping fill the film companies’ coffers. As they say in Hollywood there is no such thing as bad publicity. All this is going to drive people who otherwise would not have bothered with the film to go and see what all the fuss is about. However I cannot see the film industry or Hollywood changing the way they act any time soon just because people are protesting, personally I think they will rub their fat, greedy little hands together and pat each other on the back at a job well done and about how the critics and the protesters are lining their pockets. Well played Hollywood, Well played.

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