Bryan Cranston Defends Casting Choice

Entertainment News With “The Upside” Movie Casting Bryan Cranston has defended playing a disabled character in his latest film, saying his casting as a man with quadriplegia was “a...

Entertainment News With “The Upside” Movie Casting

Bryan Cranston has defended playing a disabled character in his latest film, saying his casting as a man with quadriplegia was “a business decision.” In “The Upside,” the US actor plays a wheelchair-using billionaire who hires a former criminal, played by comedian Kevin Hart, to be his live-in carer.

“As actors we’re asked to play other people,” said the ‘Breaking Bad’ star. Cranston said the subject was “worthy for debate” and there should be “more opportunities” for disabled actors.

Yet he maintained he was entitled to play characters whose attributes and abilities differed from his own. “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?” he mused.

“I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that?” he told the Press Association. Jake Gyllenhaal and Dwayne Johnson are among others who have faced criticism for playing disabled characters.

Gyllenhaal’s 2017 film “Stronger” is about a man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon bombings, was criticized for not casting a disabled actor in the role. Last year, meanwhile, Johnson was censured for calling for more disabled actors on screen while also playing a man with a prosthetic leg in action film “Skyscraper”.

Cranston’s comments come in the wake of ongoing debate over whether it is appropriate for straight actors to play gay or transgender roles or for white actors to play characters associated with ethnic minorities. Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Jack Whitehall and Ed Skrein are among those who have faced criticism for accepting certain roles. Some have gone on to withdraw from projects following a backlash.

Last month Darren Criss said he would no longer accept LGBT scripts because he did not want to be “another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

The Glee actor played a gay serial killer in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace – a performance that won him an Emmy in December and a Golden Globe on Sunday. Hart, meanwhile, believes there are always positives to discussions about diversity and inclusion.

“I think having a conversation started is always a good thing,” he said, “In this particular case, bringing awareness to the fact that hey, we would love to see more disabled people given the opportunities to participate in the entertainment world, and potentially grow.”

The comedian turned actor faced renewed criticism himself recently for comments he made in 2010 about his fears that his son might grow up gay. Criticism of his remarks led to him stepping down as host of next month’s Oscars ceremony and apologizing to the LGBTQ community for his “insensitive words”.

Hart apologised again this week on his SiriusXM radio show, saying he was “now aware” of how his words had make members of the LGBTQ community feel. “I think that in the times that we’re living in, we have to be understanding and accepting of people and change,” he told his listeners.

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