The series features in-depth conversations of individual films’ treatment of disability and barriers to access for disabled artists
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, February 8, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — Disabled Actor, Ajani ‘AJ’ Murray has launched a new podcast series Acting Up w/ AJ and Crew, highlighting the entertainment industry’s treatment of disability onscreen in a film by film basis, and featuring discussions with members of the disabled community.
In the US, more than one in four adults live with some form of disability, yet according to audience data experts Nielsen, the total current share of screen time for people with disabilities is 8.8 percent. While the number of disabled characters in media continues to increase, approximately 95 percent of those roles are portrayed by actors who do not have a disability.
The series, which critiques the portrayal of disability on screen in both new and old titles, discusses the multiple barriers faced by disabled talent pursuing careers in the entertainment industry. Listeners can access the podcast now via Apple Podcast and Spotify, as well as all the usual podcast platforms.
Murray is a professional disabled actor and passionate disability advocate, who has starred in Comedy Central’s Drunk Histories (2018) and multiple films, including Best Summer Ever (2020), which included Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ted Danson, Amy Brenneman and Mary Steenburgen as executive producers, and is the first ever SAG-registered movie in which more than half the cast and crew are disabled.
“Using nondisabled actors for disabled roles or creative teams that lack experience of disability can lead to inaccurate portrayals of our community and perpetuate harmful stereotypes,” says Murray. “This podcast serves to not only illustrate this, but also considers where the entertainment industry has got this right, and how it has got it right.”
“There is a host of disabled talent across the US that is currently being overlooked for roles. Representation is imperative for us to not only further equity within the industry but crucial to enabling audiences to authentically relate to stories that are not their own, and this podcast highlights the uphill challenge disabled people face in being seen not only on screen but by society as a whole.”
About Acting Up w/ AJ Murray and Crew
Led by Acting Up w/ AJ and Crew discusses disability portrayal and inclusion within the arts and media, in front of the camera and behind it. It is led by disabled actor and disability advocate AJ Murray, alongside production artist Shawn Kimball, and features special guests from the disabled, and entertainment and arts communities.
Centering around an individual film each episode, it includes discussions on movies such as; Champions, a 2023 sports comedy-drama featuring Woody Harrelson as the coach of a team of basketball players with intellectual disabilities; Music, a musical drama about a young girl with autism, directed by Sia; and Academy Award winning My Left Foot, about an artist with cerebral palsy played by Daniel Day-Lewis.
For more information visit: https://actingupwithaj.com/
About AJ Murray
Hailing from Atlanta, GA, AJ Murray is an actor and disability advocate, with over a decade of experience in theater and film. Sparked by a childhood love for Ghostbusters, AJ has pursued his passion for the arts and cinema with the aim of ensuring that everyone can see themselves reflected in the stories told by Hollywood.
His breakout feature documentary film Becoming Bulletproof launched him into a number of film roles including Bardo Blues (2015), Take a Look at This Heart (2018), and Best Summer Ever, and his debut role on Drunk History (Comedy Central) has brought notoriety to his passion as an advocate in the disability community. His role in the groundbreaking ABC show Speechless was something he had looked forward to since childhood; acting on set with multiple wheelchair users in a sitcom.
Shawn T Kimball
Acting Up w/AJ and Crew