On April 15, 2013, Jeff Bauman lost both of his legs after two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon.
Directed by David Gordon Green, "Stronger" is a 2017 film that revolves around Jeff Bauman's story. However, the film is facing strong criticism for its casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as the central character.
The film's director told Boston.com that he never regarded any other actor aside from Gyllenhaal to play Bauman, a double amputee. David Gordon Green attributed his decision to choose Jake Gyllenhaal to play Jeff Bauman to the "Donnie Darko" actor's ability to break a few rules as far as acting is concerned. Moreover, the film director believes Gyllenhaal will accompany him on a journey that is likely to be emotional as well as inspirational.
However, according to The Ruderman Family Foundation, Gyllenhaal’s casting deprives actors with disabilities of their shot at earning worldwide acclaim.
According to Jay Ruderman, president of the private philanthropic foundation, Jake Gyllenhaal's casting as the pivotal character in the film, "Stronger" exemplifies Hollywood’s growing systemic discrimination against actors who deal with disabilities.
Director David Gordon Green admitted that he didn't even consider any other actors to portray the key role which centers on a character who is a double amputee.
By not allowing actors with disabilities to even audition for the role that was handed out to Gyllenhaal, the film director actually denied actors who are amputees to be considered for the role.
More often than not, disabled actors are refused the opportunity to even try out for the role of a character with disabilities due to a shortage of actors with disabilities.
That being said, there are several experienced actors with disabilities including Kurt Yeager waiting with bated breath for their chance to be cast in roles that mirror their lives and experience.
Yeager, an actor, and amputee spilled the beans about the challenges actors with disabilities encounter, noting that he puts on pants to auditions in order to cover his missing leg.
A lot of people fail to figure out that he is missing a leg, Yeager added. He spends a lot of time to become versed with walking without a limp so that people do not get an adverse impression. He deems this unfair for several actors with disabilities.
While people with disabilities represent a considerable 20 percent of the population, only a negligible two percent of the actors are seen on screen, according to The Ruderman Family Foundation.
There's a possibility that Gyllenhaal may have been an ideal actor for the part; however, if actors with disabilities are not granted an opportunity to interview for a role they are unlikely to have the chance to reap success that other able-bodied actors such as Gyllenhaal have reached, Ruderman added.
The film is slated to premiere in near future and will follow nearly four other movies that were announced in 2017 starring able-bodied actors playing characters with disabilities.
"The Upside" debuted at the Toronto Film Festival last week. The central character of the film is a quadriplegic man played by Bryan Cranston.
Earlier this year, Alec Baldwin played the role of a blind man in the movie entitled, "Blind." Next month, Andrew Garfield will be playing Robin Cavendish, a disability advocate in "Breathe." (Image Credit: Movieclips Trailers/YouTube)