Music movie

Sia’s movie “Music” faces backlash from autistic community

Sia comes under fire for choosing her longtime collaborator Maddie Ziegler as a teenage girl with autism over a disabled actor for her next musical film.

Pop singer / songwriter Sia is facing criticism on social media following the release of her directorial debut trailer on Thursday, titled “Music.” In the inspiring musical drama, Sia introduces longtime collaborator Maddie Ziegler as a teenage girl with autism, and Twitter users were quick to hit Sia for failing to put a truly autistic person in the role, accusing the nominated singer. at the Grammy for ableism.

“Several autistic actors, including myself, responded to these tweets. We all said we could have acted on short notice. These excuses are just excuses, ” tweeted a user. “The point is, no effort has been made to include anyone with true autism. #Nothing about us without us”

“Maybe you’re just a bad actor,” Sia wrote in response.

Directed by Sia, “Music” is co-written by pop icon with Dallas Clayton, with Sia writing and performing all of the songs. It’s slated for an IMAX theatrical release in February. Star Ziegler is best known for her dance work in the majority of Sia’s music videos, from “Chandelier” to “Elastic Heart”.

“It’s a shame that someone with such a colossal platform is using it to exclude disabled and neurodiverse actors from their own narratives.” another user tweeted. “I’ve been a long-time fan of your work so it’s really disappointing.”

Sia continued to defend herself, writing on Twitter, “Holy bullshit. You have no fucking idea because you weren’t there and you didn’t see the movie. She also pointed out that for the film, starring Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom, Jr., she chose “thirteen neurotypical people, three trans people, and not as fucking prostitutes or drug addicts, but [sic] as doctors, nurses and singers. Damn sad nobody even saw the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place.

At another point, Sia tweeted, “Grrrrrrrrrr. Holy shit, why don’t you watch my movie before you judge it? FURY.”

Also on Thursday, Sia released the film’s first single, titled “Hey Boy,” which is a track from the soundtrack album that will accompany the film.

The plot of “Music” centers on Hudson as a newly sober drug dealer named Zu, who becomes the sole keeper of his autistic half-sister Music (Ziegler). Together, they overcome a myriad of obstacles in a film that explores community and togetherness.

Sia said she didn’t choose an actor with a disability because “appealing to someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to to represent the community with love “.

Sia also added that she spent “three years” researching the film, which is also controversial due to Autism Speaks, whose reputation within the community is debated. Sia said the group joined the group after the movie ended.

Representatives for “Sia” did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request for comment.

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