Double amputee actress Katy Sullivan has called out Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for taking on the role of an amputee in his new movie, "Skyscraper."
In the new action-thriller movie, Johnson plays former FBI hostage rescue team leader, Will Sawyer, who lost his leg in a mission and now has a new position working as a security guard for skyscrapers.
Sullivan, who has appeared in shows such as “My Name Is Earl,” “Last Man Standing” and “NCIS: New Orleans," criticized the actor for taking away the opportunity for an amputee actor to play the role.
In an open letter to Johnson published in Deadline on Monday, the accomplished actress and Paralympic Games winner wrote: “Individuals with disabilities make up almost 20 percent of the world’s population. We are the largest minority and the ‘most marginalized group in Hollywood, according to a 2017 study conducted by Fox, CBS and the Ruderman Family Foundation (an organization I know you are aware of and engaging with now). The study found that in last year’s TV season, less than 2 percent of characters were written to have a disability and of THOSE characters, 95 percent of the roles were filled with able-bodied actors."
She continued, “While I am thrilled that a film about a kick-ass veteran and father (who is a unilateral below-the-knee amputee) got green-lit in the first place, the problem is this perpetuates the fact that we’re not given the agency to tell our own stories.”
The actress also cited recent films where able-bodied actors have portrayed amputees such as Jake Gyllenhaal who starred as Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both of his legs during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in the biopic "Stronger," and Sam Claflin, who plays a young man who is paralyzed after an accident and struggles to adapt to life and love in a wheelchair in the romantic-drama, "Me Before You."
“This community of ours contains some of the strongest, most capable and tough individuals imaginable," Sullivan said in her letter. "And the amount of determination they need to just deal with a world that wasn’t made with them in mind is staggering. Try navigating New York City in a wheelchair. Believe me, a movie set is a dream.”
The actress concluded, “It’s when we all band together to do the right thing for TRUE inclusion and diversity that we start to change not only the landscape of our entertainment but through that, we change the perception of what individuals with disabilities are capable of doing (in general)."