'The Rock' joining group that champions rights for disabled

By Canadian Press
July 12, 2018 - 9:30am

BOSTON — 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 Thursday 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 per cent reflect this."

Earlier this week, Johnson told The Associated Press he hopes "Skyscraper" will honour 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 honoured to play an amputee, and to make sure that I did right by them," Johnson said.

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 per cent 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.

William J. Kole, The Associated Press

Royal etiquette for the Trumps' visit: Don't kiss the queen

Join the Discussion

We are happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules: Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. See full commenting rules.