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My Left Foot director would cast disabled actor

daniel day lewis playing christy brown in my left foot
daniel day lewis playing christy brown in my left foot Image credit: imdb.com

In 1989 Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for portraying Christy Brown, an Irish poet with cerebral palsy, in My Left Foot, but this week the director said if the movie was made today he would choose a disabled actor.

It’s "not think it's right anymore" for "able-bodied" actors to play characters with a disability Jim Sheridan told Sky News.

 "I don't think you could make it today. I don't think you could make it without trying to find somebody physically impaired (to play the lead role).

"I think it's a different world and you'd be duty bound."

Speaking about non-disabled actors playing the part of disabled characters Sheridan said:  "I don't think it's right anymore. We've gone past that.

"In My Left Foot, we had disabled kids in the movie and I could understand why Daniel stayed in character and never broke out.

"He wanted to respect them so he stayed in character the entire time for 20 weeks and that's as far as he could go as an able-bodied person playing a disabled person."

Discussing an actor with cerebral palsy playing a role such as Christy Brown, Sheridan said it would be “great” adding: "Who wouldn't be up for that? Everyone should have access to their story being told."

Although the filmmaker stressed in some cases insisting a disabled actor play the part of a disabled character could prove problematic.

Taking the Roman emperor for example Sheridan asked: "Do you have to have somebody who has a stutter to play I, Claudius?"

He went on to praise the Irish actor he chose for the critical acclaimed movie which won him a best director Oscar.

"I think Daniel is amazing," Sheridan said. "I think it did a lot for disabled people."

Daniel Day-Lewis retired from acing in 2017.