The stars of award-winning film Coda say its success has meant that Hollywood’s “fear” of tackling deafness onscreen is beginning to “evaporate”.
Academy Award-winner Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur, who appear in the Apple TV film alongside Emilia Jones and Daniel Durant, said it marked a turning point for the entertainment industry.
Coda follows the story of Ruby (Jones), a child of deaf adults (Coda) and her fisherman family.
The film has already earned multiple awards including the SAG award for best ensemble cast, and is tipped for best picture at this year’s Oscars on March 27.
Kotsur has also won the SAG, Bafta, and Critics Choice Awards for best supporting actor for his role in the film.
“After these nominations I really believe it’s making a big impact on Hollywood,” he said, speaking in a Variety Q&A session.
“I’m hearing with more people who want to meet with me, for example they have a script that has a hearing character but they now want to change it to a deaf character.
“They meet with me and they ask ‘how can we make this work with communication?’
“So I’m now seeing Hollywood begin to try and look for something new and that fear is beginning to evaporate. This is really just the beginning.”
Matlin, who aged 21 became the youngest best actress Oscar winner for her role in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God, added: “In 35 years I’ve seen scripts that are offered to me that weren’t necessarily made for deaf characters and they’ve tried but it hasn’t been enough.
“I think as a result of Coda however, I think that that fear is going to go away.”
Coda’s director Sian Heder, who is nominated for the best adapted screenplay Oscar said the film had been “life-changing” and wanted to make her career about being an ally to the deaf community.