Twitter and Facebook have been exploding all over the place with #DeafTalent as a hashtag. The primary focus is all about bringing attention to something no other community would put up with. Giving away roles that should be rightfully reserved for individuals within the community! Actors and Actresses have a hard enough time getting work, being unable to represent their community is outright insulting. One of the latest examples of a hearing person with no prior exposure to the community, accepting an role of a deaf character is in ‘Meades.’
Catalina Sandino Moreno discussed her role in the film, ‘Medeas’ in an interview by NYDN. She had recently played a role where she plays a “mute woman married to a middle-aged man.” (NYDN description) In the interview she mentioned that in preparation for the film, she talked to several people that were mute and deaf? Just because somebody is deaf doesn’t mean they are mute. What kind of message did ‘Medesa’ send to the world about the community. While there are many demeaning movies about every culture, every language, and every type of person; not every one of those are fighting in Hollywood for equal rights to play their own roles.
Ashlea Hayes says it the best, since when is it okay to refer to a deaf person as “mute”?! just saying…#deaftalent
Catalina also said something in her interview that was disturbing. She said, “I thought she had no notion of nothing.” And that was in response to the fact that Stephanie, the girl she was working with throughout the film, recognized a song through vibrations in the car.
When somebody is portraying a certain group of people as an actor, they need to be able to demonstrate different characteristics. When portraying a deaf person, that generally means being more expressive than a hearing person, using their hands to gesture, showing more passion, among many other things. Just based on the trailer, Catalina failed miserably so therefore she took up a role she should have not because she did not do adequate amount of research. Being able to portray a deaf person takes years of being immersed within the culture.
A good actor/actress knows when to politely decline, she did not so therefore her Oscar nomination was not an adequate measurement of her level of commitment to acting.
Nyle DiMarco is one of many people upset about rightful actors/actresses being allowed to perform in the roles they would adequately reflect our culture in. Nyle made a Vlog talking about a Medeas Film that had a Deaf Character however the actor was hearing. He stated he is insulted by that very thought. While Nyle is not the only person upset about these incidents, it shouldn’t be left up to the world to decide when a character should be potrayed by somebody that fully understands.
With Hollywood’s obsession with perfection in their actors/actresses, it is no wonder #DeafTalent is calling Hollywood out on their actions
Rikki Poynter says in her blog, “On Sunday night, I found out from my friends, Jules Dameron, about a hearing woman being cast to play a deaf role in a movie called Medeas. There are so many adjectives I could use to describe how a lot of us d/Deaf/HOH people feel about this, but in a nutshell, we’re not happy.” (RPoynter) Right before this quote, Rikki starts her video saying, “Hollywood, I got a bone to pick with you.” Viewers can already tell this video is going to be extremely on the point about what is so wrong about Hollywood not promoting talented Deaf people but rather giving away their roles to hearing people that have NO idea what they are doing.
Amber Zion has been so moved by this issue, she has made a image that reflects exactly how people feel:
Comments on Facebook have exploded and the community is being very supportive of this movement!
Lisa Anderson Kellett : Agreed. There was a recent movie released with a hearing person portraying a deaf character, enough! Sorry but I protest in agreement, only Deaf can know the Deaf experience and act as a Deaf person, because it’s a lived experience! #DeafTalent
Rustic Lantern Films: Oh yes Rustic Lantern Films agreed and supported this! Stop allowing hearing actors playing deaf characters #Deaftalent
Lexi Marman Cowden: There are so many Deaf amazing talented actresses out there!!!! Here are just a few of them! Enough is enough. No more casting hearing actors who don’t know the Deaf culture or sign language! #deaftalent
That is just to name a few excellent statements made by our community. If you are interested in seeing what else has been said, check out #DeafTalent on Facebook!
Before wrapping up with a final video, something for the community to think about: What is the intent that these Hollywood producers/directors have behind producing movies without quality actors/actresses. It is not to say that Catalina is not to blame at all in this saga, it is to say that perhaps the company behind ‘Medesa’ is truly the one that should be held accountable for bad casting, bad acting, and simply bad taste.
Another excellent video on how the community feels about Hollywood ignoring #DeafTalent and using hearing people to potray deaf people within television and movies.