Bryan Cranston recently joined the long list of able-bodied Hollywood actors who have played a character with disabilities.
After releasing the second biggest box office hit in France, "The Intouchables" on November 2, 2011, The Weinstein Company unveiled Neil Burger's remake of the hit French buddy comedy-drama film at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.
Entitled, "The Upside," the upcoming American comedy-drama film focuses on Bryan Cranston, who plays a wealthy, paralyzed man, who hires a former con (Kevin Hart) to take care of him.
Aside from being a big hit, the French version marked France's arrival in the Oscar race in the best foreign-language film category. Although it was shortlisted, the movie was not nominated. The American iteration of the movie is highly likely to make a fortune as well, much to the relief of The Weinstein Co.
After the film, Harvey Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg that his company plans to release it before the end of 2017 in order to qualify it for awards; however, they will refrain from going wide with it until March.
According to Feinberg, the film is more likely to garner a couple of nominations at the Golden Globes than Oscar nominations.
During the film screening, "The Upside" director Neil Burger told the Press Association that whether or not an able-bodied actor should be allowed to play a person with disabilities is an intriguing question. There's a difference of opinion on both sides of it, he noted.
Nevertheless, the company spent a lot of time researching and went at it with a lot of respect and honesty, Burger added.
Noticeably, "The Upside" is at least the third movie slated to hit the theatres in 2017 starring an able-bodied actor in a role of an individual with disabilities.
Back in July, Alec Baldwin played the role of a novelist blinded in a car accident which kills his wife in the film "Blind," and next month, "The Amazing Spider-Man" actor Andrew Garfield will play disability advocate Robin Cavendish in his upcoming film, "Breathe."
According to a report from The Mighty, there has been a lack in terms of casting diversity in Hollywood. Last year, The Ruderman Family Foundation revealed that approximately 20% of America's population deals with some sort of a disability, yet nearly 95 percent of roles with disabilities are played by actors who are not physically disabled.
According to Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation casting an able-bodied actor to play a character with a disability is quite disputable as it holds back actors with disabilities from working and acquiring publicity and fame.
However, details about The Upside's auditioning history have been few and far between, Ruderman added.
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