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'The Rock' Calls for Disability Inclusion in Hollywood Following His Role as a Disabled Person in 'Skyscraper'

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a message he wants Hollywood to hear following Friday’s release of his latest movie “Skyscraper.” In the film, Johnson plays a man with a prosthetic leg who tries to save his wife and kids, who are trapped in a burning skyscraper.

Though Johnson is an able-bodied actor playing a character with a disability, he has partnered with the Ruderman Family Foundation to release a video about the need of representation of people with disabilities in Hollywood. Johnson said the entertainment industry should take steps forward to cast actors with disabilities to play characters with or without disabilities.

“Disability is an essential piece of diversity and our characters and our actors should definitely one hundred percent reflect this,” Johnson said.

Hollywood casting able-bodied actors in disabled roles is an issue that’s been brought up numerous times by the disability community. Kristen Lopez, a disabled writer, wrote for /Film that the film doesn’t make the character’s disability a defining characteristic or major aspect of the film, though there are times he uses his prosthetic to his advantage.

“There’s no need to triumph over disability because there’s no overt reason for the character to be disabled. He just is,” Lopez wrote.

While the character’s disability may not be central to the story, disabled actors are frequently excluded from roles that focus on disability as well as those that do not. According to the Ruderman Family Foundation, 20 percent of Americans have a disability, but less than 2 percent of characters on television have a disability. Within that small percentage, 95 percent of those roles are played by able-bodied actors.

“Our industry has a responsibility to tell inclusive stories and I hope that my character in ‘Skyscraper’ is an example of that commitment,” he said. “I certainly encourage the entire industry to take steps forward.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Eva Rinaldi

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