Bryan Cranston is appearing on a January 30th episode of Bill Maher’s podcast Club Random, and some of the conversation has been shared online. Specifically, he discusses the 2017 movie The Upside regarding casting choices and a sequel. That’s right; Cranston and co-star Kevin Hart are making a sequel. The movie is based on a true story (and a French film) of a billionaire who befriends an ex-con and hires him as a home aid nurse. Check out an excerpt of Cranston’s remarks here:
“We’re doing a sequel to it.”
“I got a lot of shit for that,” he said. “I am an able-bodied actor playing a disabled actor.”
Maher responded, “I mean, it’s called acting. It’s almost the whole point, that you are doing something that you are not, right?”
Cranston continued, “I was pretty surprised that I got some blowback to it, and I thought, ‘There’s a good point, that disabled actors are not given an opportunity.’ It’s a kind of a catch-22 that… it’s like, ‘Do you have the cache to be able to carry a film?’”
Cranston cites great performances by able-bodied actors as disabled characters, like Daniel-Day Lewis in My Left Foot and Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. I have complicated feelings on the issue of who should play what. I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, we would all agree that a white actor shouldn’t play a black character and vice versa. But I think able-bodied actors can effectively portray a disability, and gay actors can play straight, etc. I also understand where he’s coming from with people not having the opportunity despite fitting the role. That’s the hard part; famous able-bodied actors will always be prioritized over disabled ones with less clout. I’m conflicted about problems or questions like this because I don’t think the answer is easy. I think it completely depends on the individual situation and the actors in question. Cranston was great in this movie, and Hart was shockingly even better; I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the respective roles. I don’t know where they’ll take a sequel, but I’ll be watching when they do.
What do you think about an Upside sequel, Cranston’s comments on disability, or anything else? Talk to us in the comments!