A film director looking for a real-life wheelchair user to star in their new film has said that some actors faked a disability to audition.
Aneesh Chaganty’s horror thriller Run follows a teenager whose overprotective mother (Sarah Paulson) uses the fact she has a wheelchair as a justifiable reason to keep her locked away from outside world.
Chaganty, his co-writer Sev Ohanian and producer Natalie Qasabian wanted the lead role to be played by an actor who used a wheelchair in real life. They eventually selected Kiera Allen, 20.
Chaganty has now revealed in a new interview that the audition process “proved to be an intense and countrywide sort of search” that saw some actors lie about needing a wheelchair when they didn’t.
“There were a couple of young ladies we saw that submitted themselves as people with disabilities,“ Chaganty told MovieMaker.
Ohanian added: “We were like, ‘Wow, they’re really talented,’ but somebody looked them up on Instagram [and] there were videos of them walking on the beach from like two hours ago.”
Run is said to be the first thriller in 70 years to feature a wheelchair user.
Speaking about her role, Allen told Variety: “It feels like it’s going to be the first time a lot of people in my generation ever see a real wheelchair user onscreen playing a wheelchair user. That’s a huge honour.“
The campaign to cast actors with disabilities in roles depicting characters with their disabilities has strengthened in recent years.
Run, which also stars Pat Healy, is available to stream on Hulu in the US.
A UK release date is yet to be announced.