Sia regrets responding to criticism over casting of autistic character in her film: ‘I f***ed up this time’

‘Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now,’ singer said

Isobel Lewis
Monday 21 December 2020 09:52
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Music (2021 film) trailer

Sia says that she regrets responding to critics calling her out for casting Maddie Ziegler as an autistic character in her new film.

The Australian singer’s directorial debut, Music, will be released in 2021, but the trailer drew criticism over her long-time collaborator Ziegler’s role as the titular character, who is non-verbal.

In response to these comments, Sia tweeted that critics who accused her of ableism had “no f***ing idea because you weren’t there and haven’t seen the movie”.

After another person claimed that there are a number of actors on the autism spectrum who would have been more appropriate for the main role in the film, including themselves, Sia replied: “Maybe you’re just a bad actor.”

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, the “Titanium” musician said that in responding to her critics she had broken her usual rule of not doing “anything emotional past midnight”.

“Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now,” she said. “It was three in the morning, and even though I have a rule that I don’t do anything emotional past midnight, I f***ed up this time.”

Sia also claimed that she had approached a person with autism spectrum to play the role, but they found the filming process too distressing.

“What I do know is that people functioning at Music’s level can’t get on Twitter and tell me I did a good job either,” she said.

“There’s a saying in AA that you’re better to understand, than be understood. Sadly I forgot about that when I got on Twitter. I really just wanted to explain that I had tried all these different options and done my best.”

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Last week, Sia doubled down on her decision to cast Ziegler, saying that she had “needed a dancer” to play the role.

“It’s not a documentary,” she added. “Kate [Hudson] isn’t a drug dealer and Leslie Odom Jr isn’t from Ghana.”

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