A Different Man's Adam Pearson is speaking out about the harmful tropes that continue to plague actors with disabilities in Hollywood.
During a recent sit-down interview with Variety, Adam, along with his costars Sebastian Stan and Renate Reinsve, discussed the world premiere of their new A24 film at Sundance. While doing so, Adam shared his frustration with how actors with disabilities are written into storylines.
A Different Man is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Edward, a man who undergoes facial reconstructive surgery and later becomes fixated on an actor in a stage play production of Edward's earlier life.
And for those who don't know, Adam has neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a rare genetic condition that causes tumors —typically non-cancerous — to grow along your nerve tissue.
The British actor and presenter shared his experience with stereotypes actors with disabilities are often subjected to, as well as patterns he hopes Hollywood rids itself of when it comes to representation.
“Normally there are three kinds of roles or tropes or stereotypes, whatever vernacular one wants to use,” Adam told Variety. “There’s either the villain — that because I have a disfigurement, I want to kill Batman or James Bond. Then there’s the victim — the ‘woe is me,’ small violin.”
“And then there’s the hero — that because I have a disfigurement but do regular dude stuff, whatever regular dude stuff is, I’m somehow braver than the average guy.”
He went on to talk about how harmful it is for actors with disabilities to be pigeonholed into these types of storylines.
“I think it’s lazy writing,” Adam added. “Why are non-disabled people writing about disability without consultation? Because when that happens, the end result you might get it right once."
"But nine times out of ten, it’s going to be really inauthentic and inaccurate, and serve not only the disabled community accordingly but disabled cinema lovers accordingly.”
This is more of a reason why we'll never get tired of screaming, REPRESENTATION MATTERS! To learn more about Adam, check out the full Variety interview below:
A Different Man is currently being shown at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.