Sia defends debut film Music against criticism over not casting autistic actor in lead role
In response to Twitterati calling lead actor Maddie Ziegler's portrayal of autism 'offensive” and “inaccurate' in Music, Sia insisted she did three years of research before making the film
Pop singer-songwriter Sia, who is known for hits such as 'Chandelier' and for concealing her identity with larger-than-life wigs has hit back at critics after facing flak for not casting an autistic actress in her debut film Music, which is about a girl with the condition.
According to a report in Daily Mail, the film, which is slated for a February 2021 release is facing criticism due to the casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler, who plays the eponymous character, despite not having autism.
The star has now responded to fans insisting she did three years of research and decided that it would be too cruel to cast somebody with Ziegler's level of functioning.
One of the strongest objections was raised by Irish actress Bronagh Waugh on Twitter. The actress pointed out that it is pretty offensive the way Sia has chosen to portray the character, adding that people with disabilities are not broken and don't need fixing.
According to her, many of her friends have disabilities and they are some of the coolest, most talented, funny, kind and intelligent people she knows.
“They are also the most under-represented and inaccurately represented group in our society. This kind of inaccurate, offensive representation causes so much pain," she added.
Check out the tweets here
I agree. I’ve never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I’ve always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.
— sia (@Sia) November 20, 2020
As I said, there are thirteen people on the spectrum in the movie. — sia (@Sia) November 20, 2020
Soon after the trailer was released, social media users slammed Sia for casting the 18-year-old, branding the film as disappointing and offensive.
According to a report by Los Angeles Times, the project has been termed a "cinematic experience" and will also feature Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr. In the film, Ziegler's character communicates her emotions through a tablet.
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