“Why don’t they cast autistic actors.”

Monday, January 29th, 2018

This question got asked on r/Asperger’s regarding The Good Doctor. Every time they do a TV show about an autistic character, they always cast a neurotypical to portray the autistic person.

That person got responses like there are more NT actors out there than there are with autistic actors and others said autistic people wouldn’t be able to be actors because of poor social skills.

After studying acting and taking classes, I have learned things about it. First of all acting is not just learning lines. Also actors have to use theory of mind and imagine how the character they are playing is thinking and feeling and what their motive is. Autistic people have difficulty with this.

You also need flexibility, you can get a call for a call back so that means drop what you are doing and go in and do the audition again. It is unexpected. Autistic people have troubles with sudden change and interruptions. Also being on the set, you have no idea when you will go home or when you will be done with the scene. You could be on it for 15 hours and still haven’t gone home yet. It’s unpredictable. Autistic people have troubles with uncertainty and their routines being messed up and different.

Good attitude, yes you basically need good social skills to handle conflicts and difficult people and not react to how they are treating you and the unfairness they are giving you. It can reflect badly on you if you react badly and destroy your acting career because then casting directors wouldn’t want to cast you. yes the word spreads in the industry.

Are there aspie actors out there, of course but there are far more normie actors out there than there are with autistic actors. I am guessing they handle all these things or otherwise they wouldn’t be in the industry.

Also how casting works is casting directors look for actors who they feel fit the role. If an autistic person doesn’t fit the role of another autistic person, they won’t cast them. Also they use professional actors, they are not just going to do an open call for all autistic people in the area to portray an autistic character because they want professionals. No one is going to cast a beginner actor with no acting experience in a lead role for a movie or a co star role or even a guest star. The business doesn’t work that way. It takes about ten years to get that far in the industry after you begin acting according to Wendy Alane Wright. I am sure that depends on how serious you take it and how hard you work.

Kids that star in TV shows usually started acting in commercials in their toddler years or they started taking acting classes at a theater at a young age and did some plays there before going to film.

I have learned that things we read in the media about actors don’t tell the whole story because they always make it look like there is this one normal kid and bam he just got a role in a feature film as the star. No it didn’t happen like that. Or when someone gets discovered and they begin acting, we don’t hear that they took acting classes or workshops. Only time this ever happens is if you are a baby. They are cute, they don’t need to act. They just use them for film. For small children, they don’t really need to craft, they are just cute. Then to maintain their acting career, they take classes and do training to keep on doing it and to keep being casted. As you get older, more gets expected out of you in the business. For kid auditions, all they need to do is answer questions you give them like their name and date of birth and about their general life and you send it in. For kids to start acting, all they need to do is recite a commercial and the parent mails it to a talent agent and if they liked how the kid recited it, they represent them. But that doesn’t work that way for 18 and up. I think it’s easier for a kid to start acting than it is for an adult. You don’t just go in and say “I am Beth and I have always wanted to be an actress so i would like to be in a movie please.” No, they would just see me as a wannabe actor and send me away politely. I would be seen as an amateur. If I want to act, go take classes, (Wendy says go to theater school) go to workshops, go practice, do plays and community plays, do indie and student films, study. Wannabe actors want to do none of that, they just want to go in and just be handed a part and then bam they do their lines and act, it doesn’t work that way. That is what actors call being lazy. Wendy compares that to walking into a hospital and saying “Hi I have always wanted to be a doctor, what floor can I work on to be a doctor, can you put me to work now?” and they had no training in being a doctor and never studied it. Only time you can be on film with no acting experience is being a background actor but guess what, that gives you no acting experience and it won’t help you become an actor. You’re just treated like cattle and not considered part of the group like actors are. you’re just there and then you are shuffled away and put in some room until they need you again. You are not allowed to interact with the actors or any of the crew people. Though i have heard of stories about actors interacting with background actors like Rosie O Donnell kept the extras entertained between filming on A League of Their own set with puppet shows and stuff she did so they wouldn’t leave and the crew decided to just pay the extras so they wouldn’t leave because it was so hot out. I just read online extras are not allowed to ever leave the set but these people could for A league of Their Own production? I guess every company is different. The one here that casts people for extras is very strict and does not allow it or else the charge you $100 and deactivate your profile. I am not sure if that means they delete you and put you on their blacklist.

It’s rare to just sit back and not be doing anything when you get discovered by a casting agent or a talent agent and you just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I read you have a higher chance of winning the lottery than this happening. Most actors have to do the work themselves. But back in the days it used to be if you wanted to be on film, all you had to do was go to the agency and they would sign you in and do a contract and they would cast you and give you training, they don’t do that anymore. If you look at old film from the 1930’s and 1940s and 1950’s, you will see how different acting was then, look at how they craft and express themselves and how they express fear and anger. Now today that would be considered bad acting and not be used for film. It wasn’t serious then is why. It was the same with singing too, you want to be a singer, just go in to the talent person and they will put you right to singing. Now you have to do your own work.

So that is why autistic people do not get casted for autistic characters. it doesn’t work that way. Is it possible to get casted as an autistic person for an autistic character, yes it is because it’s happened before.


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