Meet Cale Ferrin, the Disabled Actor in Hulu's Children's Show 'Endlings'
Science fiction television shows often tackle pressing issues that affect our world today. One of these shows is CBC Television and Hulu’s children’s series “Endlings,” which focuses on four kids and their foster dad as they try to save endangered animal species. It’s also a great show for disability representation.
Finn, one of the four foster children, is played by Cale Ferrin, a 14-year-old actor who has Fanconi anemia, a rare disease that makes it difficult for bone marrow to produce red blood cells. The condition can impact many areas of the body and cause a range of symptoms, physical differences and disability.
Ferrin talked to The Mighty about his role of Finn on “Endlings,” the importance of disability representation in children’s shows, and what advice he has for aspiring disabled actors.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Could you tell me about your character Finn?
My character Finn is a lovable kid who had a hard past. He loves to give hugs, and I’m very much like Finn in that way because I love to give hugs. One way that I’m different is that Finn doesn’t speak much, and that is the complete opposite of me. Another thing that I like is that this role has nothing to do with disability. I was just a normal kid, and I had a blast with everyone else.
Why do you think it’s important to have characters with disabilities on children’s shows?
I think it’s really important to have a disabled character, played by a disabled actor. I really want to serve as a role model or inspiration for other kids with disabilities — let them know that they can be actors. They can do wonderful things in the entertainment industry.
What was the process of filming the second season of “Endlings” like for you?
It was really a lot of fun. Some of the hard things were long hours and temperatures, like -25 degrees. But it was easy to get to, they had warm-up vans and heaters everywhere.
How were your accommodations met as a disabled actor on the set of “Endlings”?
The production company was really great about making accommodations. If I felt unsafe, I just told them, and they would fix the issue. Uneven surfaces were tough for me, so I had a lot of hand-held assistance. Everyone was just so friendly and open, and it felt like a really comfortable environment for me.
What advice do you have for other kids with disabilities who want to pursue a career in TV and film?
Go for it. Stay positive and keep pushing through barriers. For the 100 nos that you’re most likely going to get, there will be an amazing yes. Imagine what kind of world this would be if more people believed in their dreams. This is a big dream of mine, so I think that shows that dreams do come true with hard work.
Are there any actors with disabilities who inspired you to get interested in pursuing TV and film?
I didn’t really see any with disabilities, which is part of the reason why I wanted to be an actor. I loved all the Disney characters. I lot of those are my favorites. I love bright personalities, and that’s why I’m attracted to those roles.
How do you think TV and film industries could be more inclusive for actors with disabilities?
Casting needs to open up doors to consider disabled actors as regular people. Most roles I get are for disabled characters like wheelchair-users or something like that. Production needs to be more comfortable with working with people with disabilities.
What do you hope that people will take away from “Endlings” and your role in it?
It was really challenging at times, but also to show how much Finn loves people and loves to hear his heart was really amazing. I love the message that “Endlings” sends about saving the planet and working with STEM. And then how the production of “Endlings” embraces disability.
You can watch the first season of “Endlings” on Hulu today, and watch the second season when it premieres on Jan. 15.