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The Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart movie The Upside won the weekend box office race, grossing about $20 million in ticket sales. Conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby reported Cranston was attacked from the Left for accepting the role of Phillip Lacasse, a billionaire left paralyzed after a paragliding accident. They think only paralyzed actors should play paralyzed people.
An irrational objection? Vice Media doesn't think so. On its website Thursday it blasted the actor in a piece headlined "Bryan Cranston Advocated for Disabled Actors While Taking a Role from One." Though Cranston has been outspoken in urging Hollywood to employ more actors with disabilities, Vice dismissed him as a hypocrite: "His decision to play Lacasse," it intoned, "has also prevented a lesser-known disabled actor from getting the opportunity to play the role and gain celebrity."
Critique - While - Upside - Rounds - Film
This critique has been bubbling up for a while. When The Upside was making the rounds of film festivals, the respected Ruderman Family Foundation, which promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities, censured the casting of an able-bodied actor to play a paralyzed character as "highly problematic" and "discrimination." Dominick Evans, a filmmaker and activist who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, chided Cranston for "tak[ing] economic opportunities away from disabled actors who work on average five days a year." As someone who uses a wheelchair, tweeted Evans last week, "I could never play Bryan Cranston, so why the **** can he play someone like me?!"
The answer, of course,...
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