“The Stand” director defends hiring of hearing actor for deaf role

A Deaf man from Los Angeles, Jared Perez-DeBusk, had a brief conversation on Instagram with Josh Boone, the director of CBS’ upcoming “The Stand” series, which is based on a Stephen King novel.

They talked about the casting of a hearing actor, Henry Zaga, for a role of a deaf character, which has sparked backlash from multiple well-known Deaf actors.

Jared shared the exchange in a vlog and showed screenshots in the comments section.

He told Boone that he really hopes Henry Zaga will respect the character of Nick Andros and give the role to a talented Deaf actor so there can be 100% authenticity.

Boone responded that his intention is to honor King’s book. He explained that the deaf character, in his dreams and when he turns into a ghost, can speak and hear, so it is okay to have a hearing actor because the character is both deaf and hearing depending on whether he is asleep or awake. Boone said Henry Zaga is a dedicated actor, have been hard at work learning ASL, and that there would be consultants who are deaf on set.

Jared replied that as a deaf actor, it is almost impossible for him to book a job, and is very disappointed because this was a huge and rare opportunity to work with Boone. He said deaf actors can’t keep on being ignored.

Boone replied that Andros’ role was not as simple as hiring a deaf actor and that he was sorry for the frustration.

Jared said in his vlog that he was not able to change Boone’s mind. He questioned why it couldn’t be the other way — why not work with a deaf actor and work on his “hearing side?” He closed his vlog with telling Boone to spend less time feeling sorry and more time changing the world.

CAD Media said on Twitter that there would be a meeting today between “The Stand” team and CBS.

Jared’s Vlog: https://bit.ly/2KmlTYX