Disability Organization Slams ‘Blind’ for Casting Alec Baldwin in Lead Role

Blind Alec Baldwin
Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

The upcoming film “Blind,” starring Alec Baldwin as a novelist who loses his sight in a car crash, has drawn criticism for casting an able-bodied actor as the blind lead.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading organization advocating for disability rights, spoke out against the film, accusing it of “crip-face” — a comparison to blackface — in having Baldwin portray the main role. The private philanthropic group is known for advocating on behalf of casting disabled actors.

“Alec Baldwin in ‘Blind’ is just the latest example of treating disability as a costume,” Jay Ruderman, the foundation’s president, said in a statement to the L.A. Times. “We no longer find it acceptable for white actors to portray black characters. Disability as a costume needs to also become universally unacceptable.”


Alec Baldwin Donald Trump SNL

Alec Baldwin Confirms He Will Return to ‘SNL’ as Donald Trump

Last summer, the foundation released findings that reveal although those with disabilities represent almost 20% of the country’s population, 95% of disabled characters on television are played by able-bodied performers. The Ruderman Family also criticized the 2016 romantic drama “Me Before You” for casting Sam Claflin as a young banker who was left paralyzed from an accident.

The trailer for “Blind” was released Wednesday, and co-stars Demi Moore as a married socialite who cares for Baldwin’s character as part of a plea bargain. The two develop a love affair, leaving Moore’s character to choose between Baldwin’s and her husband.

The film, directed by Michael Mailer, premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival on Oct. 13. It is scheduled to release worldwide on July 14 by Vertical Entertainment.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 21

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Oh no says:

    I hope they don’t find out about the Daredevil movie…

  2. Allomar says:

    They got Baldwin instead of a blind actor because he can SEE where the ground markers are. SIGHT is actually a necessary trait for acting since the scene is set in a certain way and people need to stand in specific places.

  3. lelectra says:

    Seriously? This is a bit much. I get the premise regarding disabled actors gotta work but come on. Are there a ton of brilliant thespians that have every disability that might be portrayed? And it seems to have escaped the advocates that this particular character is apparently (as described–I have not seen it) is shown BEFORE and AFTER being blind. So…now what? Of course we cannot have a blind person playing a sighted person, if they could pull it off that would be cool but then that would be hypocritical wouldn’t it?

    Also that thing about most movie suits wanting a “name,” and that detail is a handicap for most actors, whether they are disabled or not.

    I supposed Baldwin has no business playing our disabled President either on SNL, since he as far as I know, does not have dyslexia, dementia or psychopathy.

  4. I am shocked by the comments posted here. Have those going out of their way to slam this idea looked into the discrimination that disabled actors face in the film industry? It has nothing to do with “the best actor for the role”. It is a combination of money (requiring a name) and pure discomfort with seeing a real disability on screen, both for the filmmakers and, supposedly, for the audience. Furthermore, those filmmakers rarely do an ounce of research before they portray the lives of disabled characters and do nothing but further ridiculous stereotypes that have a real effect on perceptions and policies in the real world. I have a lot of up close experience with this and anyone who thinks the movement towards disabled actors representing themselves on screen is ridiculous is utterly ignorant. This debate should soon be as dated and offensive as defending Mickey Rooney or Marlon Brando (or Scarlett Johansson) playing an Asian man.

  5. Bill B. says:

    Ridiculous. It’s called acting. By these standards there would have been no Pacino in Scent of a Woman (which might not have been a bad thing), no Duke in The Miracle Worker, no Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, no Day-Lewis in My Left Foot, no Hepburn in Wait Until Dark, no Voight in Coming Home, no Wyman in Johnny Belinda, no Malkovich in Places In the Heart, no Hunter in The Piano and many, many many more. Standards like this cannot only apply to blind people.

  6. 7 Sacred Pools says:

    Nothing to see here…move along.

  7. mjweir0317 says:

    I can’t decide if I’m more irritated with the complaint or Variety reporting on it. Move on. This is ridiculous. Actors want to play roles that challenge them. With this mentality, it won’t be long before any old person walks in, reads a few lines and gets a check. Because you know, you have to be EXACTLY like the character or you are taking something away from someone who is.

    These people have it backwards. What they should be complaining about are roles for sighted people that a blind actor might play–computer genius, astrophysicist, doctor…

    Stupid. It’s just stupid. Like everything, we’ve got it completely backward. It’s not about the disabled playing disabled people, it’s about them playing everyday people.

  8. Bruce says:

    That’s right! And while they’re outraged about this they should also start a campaign to get Al Pacino to give his Oscar back.

  9. People, please quit whining about any little thing these days. We have much bigger issues going on in the world than to be crying about a non blind actor cast in a role as a blind man. Did you think maybe he was the best actor to play the role? Get a grip!

  10. Ju5tS0m3Dud3 says:

    I would totally understand TRFF getting upset if the character was born blind or was blind for the entirety of the film, but the entire point of the film seems to be about the character having then losing his sight. I think they were just waiting for something to get upset about and this was close enough.

  11. Derek fleming says:

    Just tell the blind people that you DID hire a blind actor. How will they know you’re lying?

  12. Ms.G says:

    “Cripface”? That’s a belligerent slang term.

  13. James Brooks Tost says:

    Is the character blind from the beginning, or does the film depict his life before the crash or the crash itself? If so, I can see a small problem with casting an actor who is already disabled

  14. Tom says:

    It is called acting for a reason. People are pretending to be who they are not.

  15. I’m pretty sure Daniel Day Lewis wasn’t really disabled or John Hurt wasn’t actually disfigured.Its called acting so shut the hell up and stop whining.

  16. Douglas Earl says:

    From now on, I demand that only people with depression play Winston Churchill. As for that new Quasimodo movie; I hope Actor’s Equity has a good selection of hunchback actors standing by for auditions! (Can I say hunchback? Or do I have to say intuitive-deduction-back?)

  17. Quicksand says:

    More importantly, Baldwin can’t act. He’s a one-trick pony.

  18. “Me Before You” starts with Sam Claflin character walking, that would have been awkward to replicate with an actor in that condition.

  19. 1Ronald says:

    Alec is a good actor. Who else could keep us watching “Donald Trump?” And we get that racist “crip-face” but we’re supposed to wink and look the other way when it comes from an advocacy group. We want to see competent well accomplished actors to hold our attention. To keep us on the edge of our chair. Not a supposedly “feel good” stumbling his way through so no one in their group whines. Just be glad your group is being showcased for viewing audiences everywhere. Some people can’t be pleased.

More Film News from Variety