All Together Now, based on the book Sorta Like A Rockstar follows the story of Amber (Auli’i Cravalho) who is just barely getting by and trying to keep her struggles a secret from everyone. The movie features Anthony Jacques, who is on the Autism spectrum and Gerald Isaac Waters, who plays Chad, and uses a wheelchair on screen and in real life for mobility. These disabilities aren’t treated as challenges that need to be overcome for the characters, but are simply facts of these characters' lives.
"I think diversity and inclusion in casting is really important, so I’m proud that my cast consists of differently-abled and non-neurotypical and people of color,” Cravalho recently explained in an interview with Refinery29. “Even Ty, who’s played by Rhenzy Feliz, he’s from a different economic level than Amber is, which is also kind of rare to see in film.”
Many times if a film features disabled characters it doesn’t give the those characters personality beyond their disability.
“As an actor with a disability, we get a lot of roles where the role itself is involved with the disability,” said Waters in a press release via respectability.org. “To have one come by where he just so happened to be in the chair, I thought that was really great. It’s really important to see we can do any role and it doesn’t have to be completely circled around our disability.”
Jacques and Waters have a simple message for producers, writers and directors about creating stories with characters with disabilities and/or working with actors with disabilities.
“People on the spectrum or with physical disabilities are capable of doing anything when given the opportunity,” Jacques said. “We can be actors, writers, directors. We could do anything.”
And, for people with disabilities wanting to work in this industry, Waters advised to not dismiss yourself because it may seem out of reach. “Don’t put limits on yourself. Don’t count yourself out because it might be a little more of a challenge. Take it on as something to prove to yourself as something you can do.”
“I would advise anyone on the spectrum or with physical disabilities to stay positive,” Jacques added. “You may not always get the part that you auditioned for, but if you keep a positive attitude and keep trying, good things will happen. I’m living proof.”