Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deaf actress Linda Bove continues to educate Hollywood

Linda Bove, left,
with Shoshannah Stern in 2005.

Deaf acting pioneer Linda Bove, who played the librarian on "Sesame Street" for 32 years, is assisting the April 20 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie "Sweet Nothing in My Ear" with incorporating all aspects of deaf culture into the production, according to The Los Angeles Times April 13.

"Sweet Nothing in My Ear" is based on Stephen Sachs' play about parents dealing with their young son's hearing loss and the possibility of a cochlear implant for him. It stars hearing actor Jeff Daniels and Academy Award-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin.

Part of Bove's job on the CBS movie was helping Daniels with his sign language, as well as making sure the filming of the many deaf actors signing didn't cut their hands out of the frames. A number of deaf actors are in the movie -- Phyllis Frelich, Ed Waterstreet, Noah Valencia, Deanne Bray, and Shoshannah Stern (pictured above with Linda Bove).

"The project was given the green light 2 1/2 weeks prior to the actual shooting," Bove said in the article. "So we had a very short time for Jeff and me to come together and make sure we had everything covered. Jeff had a very challenging job to learn sign in that amount of time. I would say it took about three weeks in all. I was on set every day of shooting. Jeff used to tease me, and he'd call me 'The Sign Cop.' I thought that was funny. But Jeff was a hard worker."

Jeff Daniels talks about how important Linda Bove was to his mastery of sign language in a video on the film's Web site.

Bove said the production made sure to respect deaf culture and had great attention to detail.

"The director called me in last week to dub my voice for crying," she says. "I thought it was really cool, because he wanted a deaf voice. What did it sound like to cry? They did that for authenticity. I was very shocked, very pleased. And I'm happy that I was able to do that as an actress, you know. [It's] a very nice touch."