If you're a fan of superhero films, you likely already know that Marvel's The Eternals (directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao and starring mega-stars like Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie) hits theatres on November 5th, 2021.
I'm a huge fan of superhero films, so I've known that for a while.
What I didn't know is that one of the actors in the upcoming film, Lauren Ridloff, has been deaf since birth.
You would think that might cause some problems for the film-making team, right?
After all, as Ridloff shared during a recent interview with the New York Times, "In some scenes, I had to face a wall. As a deaf person, how do you cue me?"
But the article also went on to share the (relatively) simple solution to this problem, and how it came about:
"At one point, I was sharing my frustration with Angie — Angelina Jolie — at a holiday party after a day of shooting. And she immediately made a suggestion — why don’t we use a laser pen that special effects can easily erase? It was an “Aha, wow” moment. Whenever I’m looking at a wall, the interpreters would use a laser pen to make a circle on the wall — “rolling, rolling, rolling” — and once it went away that meant, “Action!”"
Inclusivity via a laser pointer!
As it happens, Lauren Ridloff has two boys who are also deaf. And thanks in part to their mom's work in The Eternals, they get to grow up in a world where deaf superheroes exist.
This is a great story and an even better example of how some creative thinking and applied problem solving can help create a more inclusive environment where everyone can contribute their best work.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
P.S. If you'd like to read the full article and you're not an NYT Subscriber, you can click my gift link to access it for free. You're welcome. :)