The upcoming film, The Upside, has had an uphill battle from day one. The film that was shot and released at the Toronto Film Festival 2 years ago, has been held up due to the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sex scandal. Co-star Kevin Hart is currently under fire for homophobic jokes made nearly a decade ago and now the film’s other co-star Bryan Cranston is under fire for playing a quadriplegic because he is allegedly taking a role away from disabled people.
In an interview with Sky News, Cranston told the outlet after a question regarding whether he was taking away roles from disabled actors:
“I think being cast in this role as a quadriplegic really came down to a business decision, We live in the world of criticism, if we’re willing to get up and try something, we have to also be willing to take criticism.”
Crayston continued “As actors, we’re asked to be other people, to play other people. If I, as a straight, older person, and I’m wealthy, I’m very fortunate, does that mean I can’t play a person who is not wealthy, does that mean I can’t play a homosexual? I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that? I think it is worthy for debate to discuss those issues.”
There were a number of disabled rights activists who were upset at the Cranston casting on Twitter
Further, as a wheelchair user I could never play Bryan Cranston, so why the hell can he play someone like me?!
That's the thing people don't understand… disabled actors are not allowed to play nondisabled characters, and in some cases we could never play someone nondisabled.
— Dominick Evans (@dominickevans) January 8, 2019
Diversity without disability is not diversity.
It is ableism.
— Gregory Mansfield (@GHMansfield) January 8, 2019
Last July, Actress Katy Sullivan has written a piece with Deadline Hollywood criticizing actor and megastar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for playing an amputee In Skyscraper. The self-cannibalization of Hollywood continues as the industry pushes for more diversity and inclusion, there will always be someone who feels left out.