Bryan Cranston Defends Playing A Disabled Character In His New Movie

But says the industry needs to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities.

STX Entertainment / Lantern Entertainment

Bryan Cranston has defended his latest role in The Upside after people took issue with him portraying a disabled character.

The actor plays a paralysed billionaire who hires an unemployed parolee (Kevin Hart) to be his carer.

Cranston has dismissed the criticism but acknowledged the need to provide more opportunities in the industry for people with disabilities.

Speaking to PA about his casting, the 62-year-old said: “We live in the world of criticism – if we’re willing to get up and try something, we have to also be willing to take criticism.

“We’re very aware of the need to expand the opportunities for people with disabilities. I think being cast in this role as a quadriplegic really came down to a business decision.”

He continued: “As actors, we’re asked to be other people, to play other people.

“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?

“I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that? I think it is worthy for debate to discuss those issues.”

The story is based on a true story and is a remake of the 2011 French movie The Inctouchables.

Kevin Hart backed up Cranston’s points, echoing the need for more disabled people to be given opportunities in the film industry.

 “I think having a conversation started is always a good thing.

“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 Upside actually premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, but isn’t officially released until this year.

The original Intouchables ranks among the highest-grossing non-English-language films of all time with a worldwide take north of $426 million.

Joining the cast of the remake are some pretty notable names, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies and Aja Naomi King.

Having been originally produced by the Weinstein company, the movie faced complications in its release. The scandal meant there was no money to promote it, leading it to miss it’s scheduled March 2018 release.

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