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Blast from the Past: Nyle DiMarco Wants a Deaf Superhero and We’re All In

With the release of the 2018 Thriller film A Quiet Place by director John Krasinski, the entertainment world has an open door for representation of the Deaf community like never before. "We always had a deaf character in the script, but John really pushed for them to hire Millicent," said the A Quiet Place co-screenwriter Scott Beck to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that “She came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film." While this visibility is an important contribution, it still isn’t as inclusive as some may want it to be.

Enter American model, actor, and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco.

In the past year, he has been in the spotlight even more thanks to his contribution to breaking the stigma people may have towards the deaf community. Last April 23rd he piped in through his Twitter about Hawkeye being a Deaf character after Mic shared an article about Marvel’s lack of diversity in the last 10 years. In the recent interview with Mic, DiMarco brings forward the controversy surrounding the MCU character that you may have heard of back in 2012 with the release of The Avengers. He expresses how often people forget that disability is part of diversity, not just limited to race and gender. Regarding the superhero, he shares that, “...it would have made a better movie and better TV if they actually brought in a deaf person to play a deaf Hawkeye.”  

When asked if he’d consider playing the role if he were asked, DiMarco replied: “if they asked me I would absolutely consider it.” Regarding Hollywood’s portrayal and casting of deaf actors, he acknowledged that “... Hollywood really needs to start considering bringing in more deaf talent because there are so many of us who are very talented and can do this work. And if they really want our perspective on the screen, then they need to think about it differently.”

Other than being open to playing Hawkeye if asked, DiMarco also expressed how it would be more effective for the deaf community to create their own content and bring their ideas to Hollywood. Too often the directors and producers don’t get, in this case, DiMarco’s cultural experience as a deaf person when they are not sure if they should bring a deaf person or not. Not surprisingly, the actor revealed he is currently working on something we can expect in the future, hopefully regarding the proper representation of deaf characters by deaf actors.

In the 1983 Hawkeye 4-issue mini-series, the character becomes deaf after facing the villain Crossfire, and even has character Mockingbird later helps Clint Barton with hearing aids. Even though canonically this is a part of the character, Marvel disregarded this important detail that would have given even more depth to a character many love.

 

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I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Literature with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. ?
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