Friday, October 30, 2009

Abigail Breslin vs. The Blind and Deaf Advocates

Oscar Nominee Abigail Breslin has been hired to play Helen Keller in the Broadway revival of “The Miracle Worker.” The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts has complained that Abigail Breslin was hired without any consideration for talented actresses from their community. Abigail Breslin is a very talented actress, but she is neither blind nor deaf.

I’m going to take a stand on this one. I am siding with the producers who hired Abigail Breslin. The first reason why I am siding with the producers is because Abigail Breslin is famous. She is not famous for being on some kids show. She is famous for being in popular and well respected films. Ever since she was in Little Miss Sunshine, she has become very recognizable. In addition, she has not done anything yet to upset the mainstream media. She has not done anything controversial like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan.

The second reason why I am siding with the producers is because having a famous actress can help the show make more money. They are in the business of making money. If I was going to see a Broadway Play, I’d rather see one with a famous actor or actress that I recognize, so I get a chance to see that celebrity perform live. Just like a movie will make more money if you hire Tom Hanks, a Broadway Play will make more money if you have someone famous in the cast.

I feel for actors and actresses who have disabilities. In fact, I want to point out that some of them have done very well in movies. In World War II, a man named Harold Russell lost both of his arms. He was hired to star in a film called “The Best Years of Our Lives” as a soldier who lost his arms in the war. He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and he received a special Oscar for “bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” He is the only person to receive two Oscars for the same role. I want to highly recommend this film. His performance was excellent. He deserved the Oscars.

In 1986, Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, was cast in the role of a deaf character in the film “Children of a Lesser God.” I have not seen the film yet, but she did win the Oscar for Best Actress. I will try to get around to seeing this film.

Performers with disabilities are talented and have been recognized by Hollywood. I cannot fault the producers of “The Miracle Worker” for hiring a celebrity who can help them sell tickets. If they hired an unknown actress, then I could say that they were wrong for not giving a deaf or blind actress a chance. But they landed a famous Oscar nominated actress, and she will help them sell tickets. There is not another 13-year-old actress who is as famous as Abigail Breslin. I do not feel that the choice of Abigail Breslin was about having a child actress without disabilities. I feel it was about having an A-List star in the play.


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