“The story at the heart of Warner Bros.’ recently released film “Me Before You” is what fairy tales are made of. An adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ 2012 book of the same name, the movie follows the relationship between a young banker (“The Hunger Games’ ” Sam Claflin) left paralyzed after an accident and his caregiver (“Game of Thrones’ ” Emilia Clarke). But to some, the choice of the able-bodied Claflin is yet another example of the film industry limiting the roles actual disabled actors get to play.
Diversity has been the talk of Hollywood, but for the most part, the conversation has centered mostly on race and gender. Some have brought in issues of sexuality, but many feel the discussion should expand to include the disabled.
“If you’re going to discuss diversity, it has to be completely inclusive of the groups that really define diversity, not just a select group that is popular,” said actor Danny Woodburn. “It’s popular to say LGBT groups, women, people of color define diversity. It’s not so popular to say people with disability define diversity. But the reality is that disability puts the ‘D’ in diversity.”
Hollywood has long received criticism over its lack of diverse representations of people in front of and behind the camera. The most recent critique came earlier this year when the film academy announced an all-white slate of acting nominees for the second year in a row. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, created by April Reign, immediately trended on social media. In an interview with The Times, Reign verbalized her stance on what she called “the erasure of marginalized communities” and posited a definition of diversity that included differently abled people…”