When I read that Netflix & Marvel are making several series’ about various characters, I got excited.
Right up until I saw that they were going to make Daredevil.
What these two companies have is an opportunity to change the way that mainstream media deals with disability in production.
Hire me. Or someone like me.
You see, I’ve spent my entire life watching able bodied actors stumble through my life. I’ve seen them misuse white canes, behave as though all blind people stand still. That we do not turn our heads. The physicality of blindness in film is all wrong.
Al Pacino won an Oscar for his portrayal of a blind man in “Scent of a Woman” – but I could barely finish the film because of the fact that his cane usage was ALL wrong. People reference this movie all the time when talking to me about my time acting.
Eliza Dushku uses her cane inappropriately in “Dollhouse”.
Jodie Foster, Kerry Washington… The list goes on.
And then they did the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck. I couldn’t get past the kitschy braille credits. I couldn’t get past the token-y blind jokes that didn’t make any sense.
Films that cast able bodied actors as disabled characters need to call on the talents of people with those disabilities to educate. You see, taking on a physicality is not just about spending a day at a school for the blind. You have to learn more than that. And yes, I think I’m allowed to expect that. If people can win Oscars because they are doing what others see as unimaginable (being disabled), then they should at least do it right.
So please, Netflix and Marvel, do the right thing by the blind nerds of our world. Hire someone. It doesn’t have to be me (although I’m trained as an actor, I’m low vision, and I’m an excellent teacher). But you should try harder this time.
Remember that blind people can watch your series, we can see your mistakes, and they make us not want to support you. Give us a reason to watch Daredevil.
Give us a superhero we want to be.