Friday, July 5, 2019

Marlee Matlin to star in new Disney+ comedy series Life and Deaf

From Deadline:

Disney+ is finalizing deals to put in development comedy series Life and Deaf, starring and executive produced by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, Deadline reports. The project hails from Switched at Birth creator Lizzy Weiss, Patricia Heaton and David Hunt’s Four Boys Entertainment and CBS TV Studios, where Four Boys is under a pod deal. 
Written By Weiss and based on the life of Jack Jason, Matlin’s long-time interpreter, Life and Deaf is a half-hour family comedy about a kid growing up in the ‘70s with deaf parents — and the mischief that ensues when, as their ears and mouthpiece, he is given the “keys to the kingdom.’ 
Heaton, Hunt and Rebecca Stay of FourBoys will executive produce along with Weiss, Matlin and Jason. CBS TV Studios is the studio.
The project reunites Matlin with Weiss, with whom she worked onSwitched at Birth. Her recent TV credits include co-starring on the third season of ABC’s Quantico, as well as roles on Syfy’s The Magiciansand Fox’s Family Guy. She’ll next be seen in Limetown for Facebook Watch. Matlin made her film debut in Children of a Lesser God, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. 
Weiss created the Peabody-winning Switched at Birth, which ran for five seasons at ABC Family/Freeform, featuring multiple deaf actors and characters including Matlin who was recurring. She was also the showrunner for Season 1 of Facebook Watch’s Sorry For Your Loss, and wrote the surf girl movie Blue Crush. 
FourBoys Entertainment is currently in pre-production on the movie Florence, Not, Italy, which Hunt will direct, and is also producing the Heaton-led comedy series Carol’s Second Act for CBS and CBS TV Studios along with creators/EP’s Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Kapital Entertainment. It’s set to premiere this fall on CBS. 
At Disney+, CBS TV Studios has a series order for Diary of a Female President, from writer Ilana Peña and Gina Rodriguez’s I Can and I Will production company.

Nike releases para-sport mannequins

From Sarah Kim in Forbes:

In the midst of fiery, as well as controversial, talks about Nike’s recent release of plus-size mannequins, the general public has missed the other story: Nike has also unveiled parasport mannequins in their flagship London store. Para-sports, also known as adaptive sports and disabled sports, includes activities for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
However, this inclusion and significance of the first disabled or para-sport mannequin have been largely overlooked due to the heated discussions surrounding its plus-size mannequins. Sportswear brands notoriously only feature able-bodied mannequins, so the fact that a major company like Nike has promoted the visibility of disabled bodies is a major step forward.
"Highlighting a full range of athlete figures, [the Londontown Nike flagship store] shows multiple plus-sized and para-sport mannequins, a first for the city's store," Nike said in a press release.
The inclusion of para-sport mannequins significantly disrupts and breaks the damaging assumption that people with disabilities can’t be athletes. However, this lack of acknowledgment of these mannequins implies that, at least in the United States, people don’t see athletes with disabilities as equals.
This notion becomes apparent when it comes to the coverage of the Paralympics, which happens after each Olympic Games and involves athletes with a wide range of disabilities. Paralympians strive for equal treatment and recognition that Olympians receive, but this has not been the case ever since its inaugural games in 1988.
Not only are the Paralympic Games not covered by TV networks or the news, but they also receive little to no advertisement. However, if society truly believed that those disabled athletes are as worthy as their able-bodied counterparts, the story would be different. In the mainstream discussions on diversity and inclusion, disability is too often the last thought, if it’s mentioned at all. It’s time to change the discourse, and Nike should be celebrated for being one of the first to do so on a large scale.
It is a disservice to Nike and people with disabilities that these para-sport mannequins have not gotten the recognition and the praise it deserves. Para-sport athletes and Paralympians achieve the same level, or great, of achievement as their able-bodied counterparts do; they accomplish the unthinkable. So, it’s about time that they receive this caliber of representation.
“It’s good to see big brands beginning to reflect a greater variety of shapes and sizes,” Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson told Elle. ‘The plus-size mannequin has stolen the headlines, but the para-sport mannequin represents a step in the right direction for the positive portrayal of disability sport and physical activity for all.
There is tremendous hope that other retailers and brands would follow in Nike’s footsteps and reevaluate the true meaning of diversity and inclusion. By seeing the para-sport mannequins, not only will disabled shoppers will feel seen and heard, but it will also normalize disability, and show that it should not be erased or hidden from the public eye.
Nike has become a leader and the embodiment of inclusion and equality, and in doing so it has set a new precedent for other brands. In the core of its mission of including plus-sized and para-sport mannequins, Nike wants the world to accept every body size and ability.