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Brightest Blue
post Nov 21 2020, 01:21 PM
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Disgusting tweets from Sia mellow.gif

What are your thoughts? Should someone without autism portray a character with autism?



Sia is also bashing sex workers


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Jord
post Nov 21 2020, 01:32 PM
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I think to play an autistic role from experience it would make sense if an actor who has autism look the part of it. I have a form of it myself but it doesn’t bother me too much if someone takes the role and they don’t have it themselves as long as they research properly and they’re accurate in the portrayal. Like I don’t get how that part of the argument has caused that much of a stir. You don’t have to have first hand experience at everything you’re acting on screen in order to be an actor though. I get some people will always want certain things like Autistic characters played by an Autistic actor or a Trans role played by a Trans actor but I think the judgement should be kept till the movie is out there.
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Brightest Blue
post Nov 21 2020, 01:37 PM
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I get your point, but then you can’t disregard those tweets. I don’t have autism myself, so maybe I shouldn’t be commenting on this, but I genuinely believe that autistic characters should be played by people with autism. There are many talented autistic actors out there.
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diva thin muffin
post Nov 21 2020, 01:57 PM
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Yikes those tweets are not good. I don't necessarily fully agree with the criticism but the way she's handling it is not a good look.

This post has been edited by diva thin muffin: Nov 21 2020, 01:57 PM
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mald487
post Nov 21 2020, 02:24 PM
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She's reacted badly yes, and there is definitely a discussion to be had about whether neuro-typical people should be playing differently abled(sorry if im not spot on with my terminology, I'd gladly be corrected) smile.gif people. HOWEVER.. I completely understand her frustrations.

She's spent three years working on this project with presumably nothing but good intentions and I would argue that its quite a brave subject matter to tackle.

To be immediately dismissed, and "cancelled" as it were by the Twitter mob...I would probably feel the same way as Sia.

But yes, her replies...not cute.
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Simon.
post Nov 21 2020, 02:31 PM
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Maybe you’re just a bad actor laugh.gif the shade, wow.
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k👠th
post Nov 21 2020, 02:52 PM
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Go off Sia

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Chez Wombat
post Nov 21 2020, 03:11 PM
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I'd say there are far, far more films out there where autistic people are portrayed by neurotypical people, this isn't exactly new. I agree yes, it would obviously be far more authentic if the actor was autistic themselves, but as long as it's authentically, sensibly done and not relying on stereotypes, I don't really have an issue.

I don't think those tweets are well-advised at all, but why is it just this film where this debate has started?
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Iz 💀
post Nov 21 2020, 03:15 PM
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Rude reaction aside, which she should have just taken a step back from to breathe before responding, there's definitely something wrong with the way she's presenting this.

Seems like she's very happy to talk down to neurodivergent people, underestimate them, not offer them a chance for representation out of 'compassion', and other various tells around this film's circumstances (e.g. synopsis sounds like autism is something to be overcome) which shows how she got the framing for this idea wrong, and it's a shame that the representation from autistic people she was talking to didn't point this out.
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Tafty³³³
post Nov 21 2020, 03:22 PM
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Because of the times we're in, I'd guess (Leonardo put in his VERY best performance in 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape?' where he plays an autistic child - but that was when he was a child, back in 1993) We're now in an era where everybody should be given equal opportunities and people of colour, LGBT+ and those who have disabilities etc, already struggle enough to get roles. So I imagine it's a massive kick in the teeth when someone else who isn't any of those things continue to get their roles.

I completely get her frustrations (especially as, like it's been pointed out, she isn't the first), but her handling of it is... questionable and rightfully being called out.
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Suedehead2
post Nov 21 2020, 03:50 PM
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I don't see how she is attacking sex workers. She is merely making the point that, when a trans actor is cast in a role, it is often that of a sex worker or something similar. It is a lot more unusual to see a trans actor cast as a doctor.

The idea that, for example, a character with autism can only be played by an autistic actor is silly. The whole point of acting, after all, is that it is about people pretending to be someone else. Of course, nobody should dismiss the idea of autistic actors out of hand (one of the autistic characters in The A Word is played by an autistic actor) but that isn't what Sia has done.
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spiceboy
post Nov 21 2020, 03:58 PM
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I think it’s ridiculous so she didn’t cast and autistic person instead she let someone else play a role that isn’t them(which is what acting is) get over it. I’m profoundly deaf and gay and I could give a shit if a hearing person or a straight person plays a deaf or gay role as long as they do it well.
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Klumzee
post Nov 21 2020, 04:09 PM
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In an ideal world I think this role should've been played by an autistic person. I do think it's particularly in poor taste when it's Sia's pet Maddie Ziegler who's been cast when we know she gets roles left, right and centre and is obviously pretty, white and often favoured by the film industry. It seems like they've just looked over whether an autistic person is capable and just picked Maddie to boost her career. I know there are plenty of would-be actors who are not getting these opportunities and this kind of role is ideal for them to get into the industry.

Apparently the filming schedule was too gruelling for an autistic person and especially for someone of the functioning that this character is supposed to be. So I do get where some of Sia's defence is that we haven't seen the film yet to know what was involved and she did have advice from actual autistic people too. But she should probably have taken a breather before responding to some of these people!

However having seen the trailer it does make me feel uncomfortable seeing Maddie mimic some behaviours full well-knowing that's nothing she's had personal experience of, as someone with an autistic sibling I'd feel uncomfortable acting out my brother's behaviours despite all the experience I have!

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Tafty³³³
post Nov 21 2020, 04:15 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Nov 21 2020, 03:50 PM) *
I don't see how she is attacking sex workers. She is merely making the point that, when a trans actor is cast in a role, it is often that of a sex worker or something similar. It is a lot more unusual to see a trans actor cast as a doctor.

The idea that, for example, a character with autism can only be played by an autistic actor is silly. The whole point of acting, after all, is that it is about people pretending to be someone else. Of course, nobody should dismiss the idea of autistic actors out of hand (one of the autistic characters in The A Word is played by an autistic actor) but that isn't what Sia has done.
I agree with this too! I didn't see that particular post offensive at all and completely understood what she was saying.

The other comment ("maybe you're just a bad actor") was uncalled for and was an attack on someone who explained why they find the situation hard.
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Liаm
post Nov 21 2020, 04:21 PM
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I don't think it would HAVE to be an autistic actor necessarily, but if you think of the limited pool of roles that portray an autistic individual, if you lock autistic performers away from playing those and they also don't have the same opportunities in normal roles, that's when it becomes an issue. I don't think there is really a need to tear Sia apart for a film that people haven't seen yet, but the issue is an issue that needs to be raised and is sensitive, and her response to it and how defensive she's been is disgusting.

I know she said about the schedule and environment being potentially tough for an autistic individual, but she could easily have switched things around, made adjustments and made it easier for an autistic actor if she did hire them.
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JosephStyles
post Nov 21 2020, 04:32 PM
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I don't believe autistic characters have to be played by autistic actors as a general rule, but I think it depends on the character and the storyline. Sometimes, for sure, more authenticity can be added to the role by an autistic actor. However, as long as the approach is sensitive, well-researched and accurate, I'm happy for a neurotypical actor to play an autistic character. Many autistic actors would be able to play neurotypical characters too - as long as it's something that can work both ways, I've got no qualms.

Sia's response however was absolutely awful. It was a massive "fuck you" to the autistic community. I understand that, for a role as a non-verbal autistic person, it's controversial for a neurotypical actor to play them. However, rudeness is not the way to deal with it and it's made her come across TERRIBLY. Not to mention she worked with "charity" Autism Speaks, who see autism as something that can be cured. It doesn't tick the box of being well-researched or sensitive, so that's where my personal problem lies with this.
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post Nov 21 2020, 05:00 PM
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I don't doubt her heart is in the right place, but the whole thing is tone deaf and she's just throwing her toys out of the pram when she's been (respectfully) pulled up on it. She should have just listened, taken it on board and shown a bit of humility and maturity.
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T Boy
post Nov 21 2020, 07:36 PM
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Her replies are horrific and don’t do anything to back her argument.

I’m also in the camp that says autistic characters don’t have to be played by autistics actors though. Of course, it would add authenticity and if it is possible, it’s definitely an avenue to go down for casting. But the art of acting is all about challenging yourself and I don’t think any actors should be limited in terms of the roles they can play within reason. I’d like to see autistic actors portray autistic characters but I’d also like to see them play neuro typical characters as well and vice versa. Just as I don’t think an actor’s sexuality should any bearing on the character they play. As long as things are well researched and well done, I don’t think any actors should be turned away.

Saying that, Sia has cast someone she always uses in this role and it does come across like she didn’t bother casting at all and didn’t give anyone else the chance.
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Bdelita
post Nov 21 2020, 09:49 PM
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Another day another pointless 'scandal'.

QUOTE(Brightest Blue @ Nov 21 2020, 04:21 PM) *
Disgusting tweets from Sia mellow.gif

What are your thoughts? Should someone without autism portray a character with autism?



Sia is also bashing sex workers

These tweets cannot be defined as 'disgusting'. Rude and tone-deaf, definitely. Also, where the f*** did you read her 'bashing sex workers'?! :/

The tone of this first post is very Crazy Chris if I'm being honest and that's NOT a compliment.
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PeteFromLeeds
post Nov 21 2020, 09:53 PM
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I don't really know what to think about this, I know that in general I don't watch TV shows/films with autistic characters in (although I don't tend to watch much of those in general) because I get worried about how they will be represented, and I do think that if I knew the actor was autistic I would be more inclined to watch as they would be basing their characters somewhat off of their own experiences. At the end of the day the only people who know what it's like to have autism are people on the autism spectrum, although I suppose that if a character was played by a neurotypical actor but with lots of input from a large autistic focus group (if you've met one autistic person you've met one autistic person etc.) that could work.

These replies really are worrying though, particularly the 'bad actor' one which seems to basically be Sia viewing autistic people as lower than herself. I really hope she can take a step back and do more to understand the situation she's in.

(I have Asperger's btw if that makes any difference to what I've written)
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