Kate Hudson has spoken about the controversy that Sia hired a non-autistic actor to play an autistic role in her film Music.
Maddie Ziegler plays Music, a young autistic woman, whose tutor is her stepsister Zu (played by Hudson).
Director Sia has faced huge backlash for her casting choices in the film, which many have criticized as disabling and have said it could perpetuate damaging stereotypes about autistic people. Some of the scenes in the film have also been criticized, with a character held in a position that has actually caused injury and death in one scene.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live !, Hudson said the criticism surrounding the film was « an important conversation to have. »
« For me, when I hear that there is someone who feels left out, I feel terrible, » he said. I think when people see the movie they will realize the amount of love and sensitivity that went into it, but it is an important conversation to have, not just about this movie, but about the performance in general. «
« I think you have to have an important dialogue about neurotypical actors playing neurodivergent characters, with people who are experts and who really know how to participate in the conversation. I really encourage it. Just to say: we are listening. »
Earlier this month (February 4), Sia again addressed the controversy surrounding Music and confirmed that a warning would be added to the film. « The movie MUSIC will, from now on, have this warning at the head of the movie: ‘MUSIC does not endorse or recommend in any way the use of restraint in autistic people,’ » he wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
« I plan to remove the restriction scenes from all future prints, » Sia continued. « I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not exhaustive enough, it was not comprehensive enough. »
After Music received two nominations at the 2021 Golden Globes, a petition was launched for the film to be canceled. At the time of writing, more than 100,000 people have signed the petition.
In a review by a Music star, NME said: « Branded as a ‘magical’ presence – and treated more like a mystical pixie than a human being – Ziegler’s character, Music, focuses on otherness above the acceptation […] The Sia-composed soundtrack is sung largely by Hudson, whose decent voice is perhaps the film’s saving grace, but it still isn’t enough to make Music a solid proposition. «