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Music: Actor Kate Hudson Says Backlash on Her Latest Film Creates Dialogue on Neurotypical Actors Playing Neurodivergent Characters

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Photo Credit: Silverscreen Media Library

Kate Hudson, the Hollywood actor and Academy Award nominee, spoke about encouraging the criticism that her film Music, directed by singer-song writer Sia garnered after it was nominated for the Golden Globe Awards in two categories.

Hudson, who appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on Friday, said that the backlash raised an “important dialogue about neurotypical actors portraying neurodivergent characters”.

Sia had been criticised for casting Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actor, as an autistic girl. Reviews of the film brought the singer and Ziegler’s performance under fire for an exaggerated portrayal.

The New York Post review called it a “heightened imitation” and wrote “and, as played by Ziegler, who is not autistic, always has her mouth open with a wide grin and exaggerates facial expressions like she’s Marcel Marceau. It’s an uncomfortably heightened imitation that never rings true and verges on mockery”.

Critics also stated that the film showed wrongful portrayal of restraint used to tackle outbursts.

In the film, Zu (Hudson) is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music (Maddie Ziegler), a young girl on the autism spectrum. The film explores two of Sia’s favorite themes: finding your voice and creating family, as per the synopsis given by the Golden Globes.

While the film was nominated in the Best Picture for a Musical/Comedy category, Hudson bagged a nomination in the Best Actress-Motion Picture- Musical/Comedy category.

“The spectrum is so wide and should be approached with far more conversation and understanding of how can we be more representative, what are the best ways to do that,” Hudson told Kimmel.

“We are story-tellers. We want to tell the best stories we can. There is no one who wants to upset anybody. When people feel upset about anything, it’s our job to listen and encourage more conversation with other people who want to tell these stories”.

She further said, “I think when people see the film, they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it.”

Music released on January 14 in Australia and was made available for on-demand release from February 12. It features debutant actor Maddie Ziegler and Hamilton actor Leslie Odom Junior, apart from Hudson.

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