Certainly one of the year’s most controversial movies is pop star Sia’s directorial debut “Music,” which premiered in select theaters and on demand earlier this month to mixed reactions for its depiction of a teenage girl on the autism spectrum. The character is played by Sia’s muse Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actress whose performance some critics (especially those in the autistic community) have likened to mimicry. Or, as one critic put it, “ableist minstrelsy.”
Ziegler’s co-star Kate Hudson, who stars as a recovering drug addict and dealer in the film and is now a Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, spoke with Jimmy Kimmel on Friday about the backlash to the movies. It’s also up for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy, which has generated controversy as the movie has seen staggeringly low reviews.
“I think when people see the film, you know that they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it,” Hudson said. “But it is an important conversation to have… When I hear that anybody feels left out, I feel terrible.”
Hudson said that the cast and filmmakers only had the best intentions in making the film, which has also been a point director Sia has made since shooting the movie for years ago. The director previously revealed that a neurodivergent actress was cast in Ziegler’s role initially, but found the process stressful, according to the filmmaker.
“It’s not a sound bite conversation,” Hudson said. “It’s an ongoing important dialogue to be had about neurotypical actors portraying neurodivergent characters… It should be a continuous conversation.”
“For those of us who have autism in our families, everyone has a different experience with it,” Kimmel said.
As storytellers, Hudson said, “We want to tell the best stories we can… There’s no part of anybody wants to upset anybody. We just really want to tell the best stories and when there are people who feel upset about anything, it’s our job to, I think, listen, and encourage more conversation with other people who want to tell these stories because they’re important stories to be told. And we don’t to stop telling them.”
Watch the clip from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” below.