Remake of Autism TV Drama 'The A Word' Could Be Coming Soon
“The A Word,” which follows a boy on the autism spectrum and his family, was initially based on a 2010 Israeli TV show, “Yellow Peppers.” It was remade for the U.K.’s BBC in 2016, this time called “The A Word.”
The six-part series earned praise from the autism community. Mighty contributor Bryan Chandler explained why in his article, “What Watching ‘The A Word’ Was Like as a Person With Autism.” He wrote:
I believe the show will have a positive impact on the autism community because of the way they showcased the reality of how autism affects the individuals and their loved ones. It did not over-stereotype a specific trait, and they got it perfect. It had such a great impact on me personally as someone with autism because I could see myself as a child and how much I struggled. I had a strong emotional connection to Joe, and it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I would recommend this show to anyone.
According to Deadline, the U.S. version of “The A Word” will be created by film company Keshet Studios. Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir told Deadline the show’s remake will be similar to the BBC’s version but “incredibly personal” for its new audience.
“That series has to be very personal. It’s very emotional,” Nir said. “It will be different and not different; the issues families are facing are similar but the characters are local and very different. From 40,000 feet, it might look the same, but if you look closely it’s different.”
In the BBC’s version of “The A Word,” autistic boy Joe is played by actor Max Vento, who is not on the spectrum. Creator Peter Bowker told Mirror while casting people with disabilities was important to him, he didn’t think an actually autistic actor would be up for the role, a common myth about people on the spectrum.
“I have always been committed to casting people with disabilities to play characters with disabilities,” Bowker said. “But it was too big an ask for a six-year-old on the autistic spectrum to imitate a whole range of emotions in keeping with the piece. By definition they have difficulty processing and imitating.”
Deadline reported Nir and his company do a have writer attached to the U.S. series remake, but did not release details. There’s also no information on whether the series will feature actually autistic cast and crew members.
The studio plans to have the show ready “in the forthcoming network development season,” which means it will likely be several months until additional details or a release date are set.
Header image via BBC’s “The A Word” Facebook page