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Bryan Cranston expects backlash for playing disabled character in The Upside

Bryan Cranston is ready to be criticised for playing a quadriplegic man in new film The Upside.

Though it premiered at numerous film festivals in 2017, The Upside’s cinema release starts later this month (Jan19), beginning in Argentina, Brazil, and Russia, before being rolled out worldwide.

Bryan takes on the role of wheelchair-bound Phillip, with Kevin Hart, currently under fire for past homophobic comments he made, playing his new carer Dell. Nicole Kidman and Julianna Margulies also star.

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Addressing the issue of playing a paralysed character, Bryan has now told the Press Association that, as an able-bodied actor, he’s prepared for any negative feedback.

“We live in the world of criticism, if we’re willing to get up and try something, we have to also be willing to take criticism. We’re very aware of the need to expand the opportunities for people with disabilities,” he stated. “I think being cast in this role as a quadriplegic really came down to a business decision.”

Expanding further, the 62-year-old, who has played everything from a methamphetamine mastermind in Breaking Bad to former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way, explained that actors can’t be limited by only their own backgrounds.

“As actors (we are) asked to be other people, to play other people. If I, as a straight, older person, and I’m wealthy, I’m very fortunate, does that mean I can’t play a person who is not wealthy, does that mean I can’t play a homosexual?” he questioned.

“I don’t know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that. I think it is worthy for debate to discuss those issues.”

Bryan’s sentiments were echoed by Golden Globe winner Ben Whishaw on Sunday (06Jan19), as after his win, he told reporters that straight actors should be free to play gay characters, but more gay stars need to be cast in straight roles.

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“It needs to be an even playing field for everybody that would be my ideal. I don’t know how far we’re away from that,” the openly gay star said.

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