Warning: The following deals with addiction and suicidal ideation.
Singer Sia Furler has a fraught relationship with attention.
She's hidden from it, rejected it entirely, and pushed against it with alcohol and drugs. But still it clings to her, a moody bedfellow to her once-in-a-generation talent.
With the release of her moviemaking debut just months away, attention has come knocking again. Just not in the way she hoped.
Watch the trailer for Sia's upcoming film, Music. Post continues below.
Produced, directed and co-written by the Australian, Music is a story about a newly sober drug dealer (played by Kate Hudson) who finds herself the sole guardian of her sister (Maddie Ziegler), a teenager who lives with additional needs.
The film is not due for its limited IMAX release until February 2021. But following the release of the trailer this week, criticism has mounted over the casting of Ziegler, an 18-year-old dancer who achieved world-wide fame through her performances in Sia's music videos.
Advocates have reached out to Sia via social media to express disappointment that the role wasn't given to a neuro-diverse actor. The 45-year-old has responded to many defending the decision and pointing to her "three years of research" and the inclusion of 13 cast members who are on the spectrum.
"I actually tried working with a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie," she wrote.
I agree. I’ve never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I’ve always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.— sia (@Sia) November 20, 2020