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LEFT BEHIND Actor Pushes for Hollywood to Cast Actors With Autism

Tyson’s Run

LEFT BEHIND Actor Pushes for Hollywood to Cast Actors With Autism

By Movieguide® Contributor

Major Dodson thinks it’s time for Hollywood to cast autistic actors to play characters who have autism in movies and TV shows. 

“We’re in a much more inclusive time now with casting,” the actor, who is autistic, said. “It’s very important to have people who are actually on the spectrum portray characters who are on the spectrum. It’s not the 1980s anymore.

Dodson previously stared as Raymie Steele in the Nicolas Cage LEFT BEHIND reboot.

“There are just so many other actors out there … who are on the spectrum and who fit these requirements, so to speak,” Dodson continued. “It’s just really cool to see that people are understanding that. It makes me feel good.”

Dodson will appear in the upcoming TYSON’S RUN, a movie that follows the journey of Tyson, an autistic 15 year-old who is attending public school for the first time. He befriends a champion marathon runner, who inspires Tyson to run a marathon himself. 

Dodson, who has appeared on several major television shows, says it’s been rewarding to see the positive impact the movie is having on audiences. He feels the story of Tyson’s father, who doesn’t believe Tyson will be able to run the marathon, resonates with neurodivergent people’s real-life struggles.  

“His father just doesn’t believe that he can do it, and that translates real-world into, ‘You can’t go and do this because something bad will happen,’ ‘You can’t go and do that because you’ll get bullied, you won’t succeed,’” the actor said. “It’s these kinds of fears that float around in the air that kind of hold these kids back. So his father … finds how to forgive himself for that reluctance.”

However, Dodson’s real-life family has been extremely supportive of his dreams. 

“I wouldn’t be an actor, a voice actor, or here in Los Angeles for any reason other than the support of my family,” Dodson shared. “My mom, she’s been my acting coach over the years. My dad works hard to keep us sustainable here. That support over my whole life — and especially the last two years — it’s been difficult for everybody, but it’s just been enlightening to see everybody in my family kind of come together to stick it out, be careful, and support each other.”

TYSON’S RUN will debut in theaters nationwide March 11. Check back to movieguide.org for the full review. 

 

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