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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Dwayne Johnson honors amputees with ‘Skyscraper’

Associated Press
Dwayne Johnson honors amputees with âSkyscraperâ
Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson plays an amputee in his latest movie. Now he’s jumping in to help people with disabilities in real life.

Johnson, who plays a former FBI agent with a prosthetic leg in the new action thriller “Skyscraper,” said he’s joining the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading voice in calling for more inclusion and opportunities for the disabled.

The actor nicknamed “The Rock” released a short video calling for more inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities in the entertainment industry. Johnson said Hollywood has excluded characters and actors with disabilities for too long.

“Our industry has a responsibility to tell inclusive stories, and I hope my character in ‘Skyscraper’ is an example of that commitment,” Johnson said. “I certainly encourage the entire (entertainment) industry to take steps forward to audition and cast actors with disabilities to play characters with and without disabilities. Disability is an essential piece of diversity, and our characters and actors should definitely 100 percent reflect this.”

Johnson earlier told The Associated Press he hopes “Skyscraper” will honor the amputee community.

In the film, Johnson plays Will Sawyer, the security consultant of a Hong Kong skyscraper, who must save his family and the city from harm when it becomes engulfed in flames from an inferno he’s framed for having started.

“I was honored to play an amputee, and to make sure that I did right by them,” Johnson said. “The research was very extensive. I spent a lot of time with amputees.”

One of those he consulted joined Johnson at the premiere: Jeff Glasbrenner, a Paralympian who became the first American amputee to successfully climb Mount Everest in 2016. Johnson called him “an amazing man.”

Of the film, he added: “There’s two sides to this. One is a big spectacle, big summer fun. The other side is making sure that we paid homage and respect to amputees around the world.”

The film’s writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber called it “incredibly important” to represent the amputee community.

Foundation president Jay Ruderman said Johnson’s influence in the entertainment world will help bring about positive change inside and outside Hollywood.

“People with disabilities are 20 percent of the world’s population, and their representation in popular entertainment will help reduce the stigma they face in society,” he said.

The Ruderman Family Foundation received a disability awareness award in 2017 from the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Last summer, it launched the Ruderman TV Challenge, a call to pilot and series creators to audition and cast more performers with disabilities.

Johnson’s announcement came amid a brewing backlash against plans to have actress Scarlett Johansson portray a transgender man.

Transgender actors and advocates have criticized the production for not casting a trans actor in the role.

DWAYNE JOHNSON

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