Abigail Breslin: Helen Keller Controversy

Abigail Breslin: Helen Keller Controversy

Abigail Breslin is an actress well beyond her years and the recent news of the 13-year-old landing the role of Helen Keller in Broadway’s revival of The Miracle Worker this winter proves it.

But her casting is upsetting several blind and deaf advocacy groups. Sharon Jensen, executive director of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, an advocacy group for blind and deaf actors, among others, said in an interview late Wednesday that her organization strongly opposed a decision by the producers to not audition actresses for the part who shared Helen‘s disabilities.

Sharon shared via the New York Times, “We do not think it’s O.K. for reputable producers to cast this lead role without seriously considering an actress from our community. I understand how difficult it is to capitalize a new production on Broadway, but that to me is not the issue. There are other, larger human and artistic issues at stake here.”

of the casting of Abigail in The Miracle Worker?

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Posted to: Abigail Breslin
  • Caitlyn

    I don’t see what the problem is. She’s an amazing actress she deserves the role.

  • sarah

    I think she will do a great job!! she is a great actress

  • Emma

    I see their point, and I’m glad that they don’t seem to be mad at Abigail or offended at the choice that it was her that was chosen, but it was the fact that the producers didn’t let any one who shares Helen Keller’s conditions to audition.
    Honestly, I agree with them! I love Abbi and I think she’ll be amazing in the role! But I think it’s outrageous that they wouldn’t let disabled children even audition!

  • Tom

    They knew that they wanted her for the role. Why would they waste their time auditioning people just because they are disabled. It is the producers money to spend not yours or the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts. They have a much better chance to make money with Abigail and not some unknown person.

  • Dolly Cookie

    Yea I dont get the problem either. People just dont have anything better to do so they try to cause fights, I think Abigail Breslin will do awesome as Helen Keller!

  • Dolly Cookie

    Yea I dont get the problem either. People just dont have anything better to do so they try to cause fights, I think Abigail Breslin will do awesome as Helen Keller!

  • troy

    I don’t think it’s a matter of wheiter or not Abigail Breslin will be great as Helen Keller (I have no doubt she will). Its that actresses that in real life face the same challenges as Helne did weren’t even given the opportunity to rry out for the role.I think that to a certain extent they have a point.

  • SJS

    I think it would mean more to people who idolize Helen Keller for someone who shares their disabilities to play the part or atleast have been considered for the part. I’m sure they’ll still support the film & Abigail Breslin. It would be like having a white guy portray Martin Luther King Jr., you know?

    I’m sure no one is gonna hate on Abigail Breslin for taking this role. It’s just kinda sad that thw casting directors didn’t even consider any blind/deaf actresses.

  • Michael

    As a disabled performer I agree there should be a disabled actress playing the part. Let’s face it, the play could bomb and close just as quickly with Miss Breslin. She’s not exactly Katherine Hepburn. And frankly considering the wheelchair guy on Fox’s “Glee” is used as a prop more than anything, it isn’t as if quality roles for the disabled are dropping out of the sky.

  • Kimberly

    It’s a move, so that means ACTING is involved. If Abigail can pull off playing a role where the character has a disability then it just shows her acting skills. Nobody is going to watch the movie even more so if there isn’t a recognizable face playing the lead role.

  • Greg

    Sharon Jensen problem is easily solved. She needs to put in money for her own production… otherwise she has no say.

  • Jade

    tbh, breslin would (no offence, really) most likely play the role much better than someone who shared keller’s disabilities would. although having a relatable actress would be unique, as long as breslin can play with role with total respect for the character and her life and does it well, that’s all that matters.. honestly. that sharon woman needs to get her thoughts right.

  • Lindsay

    REALLY? With everything going on in the world this is what people are going to gripe about? Must art imitate life in all forms? Can a serial killer ONLY play a serial killer? Can a president only play a president? Tell me how you’re supposed to direct an actress with those handicaps without a significant increase in time, stress and budget. Unless Ms. Jensen is personally providing all three of those, she really needs to focus elsewhere in her battles. I am all for her organization and advocacy for people of all handicaps, but this is ridiculous.

    And the fact that Abigail Breslin is getting this role is the ONLY reason this story is even happening. So yes, I’m pretty sure it will at least garner more support and publicity than if ANY no-name person was playing Helen Keller, regardless of handicap

  • Courtney

    actually it’s a revival of the play not a remake of the movie for which Patti duke won the best supporting actress oscar 8th April 1963 which by the way Patti was the youngest person to win a competetive oscar uptil then at age 16 but would only hold that title until Tatum O’neal won the same award at age ten in 1974 for Paper Moon

  • Amber.

    Okay, I For One Love Helen Keller. Always Have. im 13 years old and Every one of my reports have been about her. I Believe if Abigail can be an amazing American Girl, shes definitely got the ability to play Mrs. Keller. Okay, Abigail has the role and everything. i do believe it was a bit rude to refuse auditions of the deaf & blinde, but i also believe it would be extremely hard and time consuming to have them take the role, because it would be hard for the too understand what they are supposed to be doing. :D

  • Kaley

    abigail breslin is a terrible actress
    I think that if they want a famous actress, they should use someone talented like Elle Fanning – plus, she’s closer to keller’s age during that time than Abigail is

  • Shannon

    Abigail Breslin IS NOT a terrible actress!!! She’s got soo much talent for a 13 year old girl… Im 13 too and shes only 5 months older than me… To be a good actress u gotta… 1. Be serious in wat ur doin… 2. Take in everythin u kno and just do it… 3. Dont muck around and act stupid… 4. If ur gonna do it, do it rite and… 5. Dont do ur job if u wer made to, do ur job becuz u love wat ur doin and hav fun wen ur doin ur job!!! So i respect that they chose Abigail for the role becuz she is my favourite actress of all time anyways and i agree with everyone else that said… It wud be a little hard to hav someone do the role that has no experience at all than to choose a famous actress that has all the skills and can do ther job rite and kno wat they need to do.

  • victoria parks

    Ok. so let me just say that to me helen keller is one of the greatest inspirations of my life. Now although its not right to discriminate and i think they should be allowed to audition, but i can see where they are coming from because with all the stress, money,time limits, ect…….., casting the role to a blind and deaf person is a HUGE challenge. and honestly, how will the know what to do? they cant hear their cues, or the time they should start doing something. they cant see where they are going either, so its kinda understandable.

  • Rachael


    Lindsay i agree with you on all points.

  • @victoria parks:

    Victoria Parks made my points exactly.

    This is a theatre PLAY, not a movie where you could have several takes and each take could last less than a minute.

    The PLAY is supposed to look like the real life of Helen Keller and in real life she didn’t have anyone telling her where to go to next and what to do next. And that is what a girl with the disabilities of deafness and blindness would need. Or at least the TANGIBLE cues to do the next thing.

    No timings would work, as the other actors’ dialogues wouldn’t match up with the actions of a person who would have to count time in her head when to do the next thing.

    The play simply has to run smoothly and it would be a really really hard task to get a full-length play to run smoothly with someone who can’t take cues or can’t follow the actions of the people around her.

    - – -

    I know this is a few years late, but I hope the play was a success.