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As We See It Showrunner On Casting ‘Authentically’ To Explore Characters On Autism Spectrum Within Amazon Series

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As We See It Showrunner On Casting ‘Authentically’ To Explore Characters On Autism Spectrum Within Amazon Series

A blemish in the world of Hollywood that has continued to not only remain, but be celebrated in the wrong ways is how neurodiversity is depicted in movies and television. When it comes to people on the autism spectrum, not only is this rarely touched upon in the media, it’s hard to find honest depictions of their experiences. But one of the best new Amazon Prime shows to binge is As We See It, which not only follows three young people on the spectrum, but also casts its stars with intention. 

The heartwarming series is led by Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki, who can all relate in one way or another to the struggles that come with living on the Autism spectrum. When CinemaBlend spoke to As We See It’s showrunner Jason Katims, he shared how he went about casting its talented stars: 

We wanted to approach the show as authentically as possible. That started with casting, but it was on both sides of the camera. We had neurodiversity in the writer’s room, in the editing room, on the set, in the production office. That’s how we approached it and it was a very exciting part about how we told the story.

Jason Katims is best known for developing NBC’s hit family series Parenthood, which starred an incredible cast and included an ongoing storyline about parents raising a child with Asperger syndrome. When approaching As We See It, Katims decided to bring neurodiversity across just about every aspect of the production. The show’s authenticity certainly comes out within the series, but, of course, its core trio was key. Katims continued: 

I just love these three actors so much. The day that Amazon gave us the greenlight to do the pilot, the very first thing that I did was call Cami Patton, who is our casting director, who has a personal connection to this story and I knew is the right person to cast this. I said to her I want to cast this authentically. So we started by doing a search for neurodiverse characters, characters on the spectrum to play those three leads.

The series follows three roommates who are all encountering complications in their adult lives in different and unique ways. They are roommates who rely on an aide (played by Thirteen Reasons Why’s Sosie Bacon) to help them combat these struggles as she tries to plan her future to further her education. Katims shared how they arrived on the three main actors with these words: 

When [we’d narrowed down actors], we brought them to Los Angeles and I set up two cameras and did it in my office. We set up a couch and chairs like a living room and we just had these characters start to do the scenes together. We wanted to get the feeling of not only how they were in the roles, but what the chemistry was between these characters, so we did different pairings of different actors and when Sue Ann, Harrison and Rick read together it was like eureka, this is it! There was an alchemy and chemistry that we were looking for and it was just an incredible experience and that chemistry you feel when you watch the show, this is how it started.

Among the storylines As We See It tackles is Albert Rutecki’s Harrison, who is working on being able to take a walk to the coffee shop around the corner from his apartment without the outside world panicking him. Sue Ann Pien’s Violet longs to be “normal” and date as she and her brother (played by one of Crazy Rich Asians’ stars Chris Pang) deal with tensions. The third roommate is Rick Glassman’s Jack, who says it like it is and finds himself without a job because of it just as he learns his father has been diagnosed with cancer. 

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Following the success of an autism-focused dating show like Love on the Spectrum coming to Netflix in 2019 and more personalities opening up about neurodiversity more honestly (another example being Big Brother’s Britini D’Angelo), it’s great to see As We See It add to the narrative and bringing forward more authentic voices to TV. The series is a must-see! The first season’s episodes are available to binge with an Amazon Prime subscription

Interviews

Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

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Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

It may not feel like it sometimes, but any upcoming movie has the chance to be named “the greatest movie ever made” by someone out there. However, that honor does have some specific caveats if you’re someone like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Not only has the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director chosen a Steven Spielberg classic for that very distinction, Tarantino also explained just why that title is very specific. 

In an upcoming interview with our in-house podcast ReelBlend, Quentin Tarantino made his fourth appearance to talk about all things movies; the first since the big live show at the New Beverly Cinema. Promoting his new co-hosting gig on The Video Archives Podcast, Tarantino had yet another spirited discussion about cinema, which led to his pick of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws as  the greatest “movie” ever made. That distinction is important, as the Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood director made that perfectly clear through the following remarks: 

I think Jaws is the greatest movie ever made. Maybe not the greatest film. But it’s the greatest movie ever made. And then there are other movies that can get in its rarefied air. But as far as a movie, there’s no making it better than Jaws. There’s no ‘better’ than Jaws. It is the best movie ever made. And it shows how badly timed most movies made before Jaws were.

Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to separate his tastes in movies into those two separate, important camps: “movies” and “films.” In this case, the designation of a movie almost sounds like it’s shorthand for the blockbuster opuses that Steven Spielberg made a name for himself with. Which means that “films” are presumably more of the independent/art house titles that have higher pedigrees, and usually end up on the lists of best picture nominees every year.

Strangely enough, Jaws is one of six horror movies to have Best Picture nominations, so the line could blur just a bit in that respect. Putting aside the “movies” versus “films” debate, Quentin Tarantino isn’t using that separation to be a snob. Later on in the conversation, he explained how spectacles such as this are their own form of art, and how Steven Spielberg came to be someone who perfected it: 

What I meant by that, to one degree or another, is that Spielberg and a lot of his cohorts grew up seeing those kinds of movies in the theater. Henry Levin’s Journey to Center of the Earth, he’s gonna run to go and see that. Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage. He’s going to run and go see it. Gordon Douglas’s Them! He’s going to run and go see. Now… most of them weren’t directed that well. They were assignments given to journeyman directors who did their best with them. That was how we were used to seeing comic book — that kind of movie experience. As opposed to a Spielberg, who was like, ‘No, this is exactly the kind of movie he likes. This is exactly the kind of movies he was put on earth to make. And he’s going to make it, within an inch of his life, as effective as it possibly can be. And, you know, Michael Anderson, isn’t putting that kind of work in Logan’s Run.

Spielberg, and “cohorts” like George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Copolla all latched onto genres that were pulpier entertainments in their childhood, only to make them into something new. Through films like Jaws, Star Wars, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather, we saw a generation of directors taking movies they loved and reviving them through their own personal lenses. Which is exactly what Quentin Tarantino would do when he stepped onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction; and it’s also why he’s such a staunch supporter of the cinematic experience. 

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If this conversation boils down to anything, it’s game recognizing game. Much as Steven Spielberg idolized the movies that helped make Jaws, Quentin Tarantino has reverence for the bearded director and his dedication to making the movies that sparked his love of cinema. Though considering the history his collaborator Samuel L. Jackson has had with sharks, you have to wonder if this has already sparked any sort of humorous conversations between the two?

You’ll be able to watch, and listen, to Quentin Tarantino’s latest appearance on ReelBlend, as it’s set to hit YouTube tomorrow. Meanwhile, Tarantino may not have his tenth and final film in the works just yet, but you can still enjoy the man’s gift for words in two very cool ways. 

Tarantino’s Video Archives podcast, which he co-hosts with friend and collaborator Roger Avery, is currently streaming wherever you find fine listening material. However, if you also want to read the man’s thoughts on ‘70s filmmaking in his upcoming book Cinema Speculation, which you can currently preorder on Amazon (opens in new tab); or any other fine bookseller.

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‘Prey’ Interviews With Amber Midthunder, Dan Trachtenberg And More!

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The stars of “Prey,” Amber Midthunder (“Naru”), Dakota Bevers (“Taabe”), Dane DiLiegro (“The Predator”), director Dan Trachtenberg and producer Jhane Myers discuss their new “Predator” movie in this interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. They discuss the “Prey” audition moment that landed Amber Midthunder her role and more!

You can stream “Prey” on Hulu on August 5.

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Interviews

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” stars Chris Pratt (Peter Quill / Star-Lord), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Will Poulter (Adam Warlock), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Sean Gunn (Kraglin / On-Set Rocket), Chukwudi Iwuji (The High Evolutionary) and writer Director James Gunn discuss their upcoming Marvel film and conclusion of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy in this post-Hall H interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

Video Chapters

  • 00:00 – Chris Pratt on Finding “Your Side”
  • 00:35 – Chris Pratt Teases What’s Ahead For Star-Lord and Gamora In GOTG 3
  • 01:24 – Karen Gillan LOVES ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Fan Reactions
  • 02:00 – Karen Gillan Weighs In On Nebula Unaliving Nebula in ‘Endgame’
  • 02:32 – James Gunn Teases a “Darker” ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Movie
  • 03:20 – Sean Gunn on Baby Rocket’s Difficult Backstory
  • 04:30 –  Pom Klementieff on Welcoming New Marvel Actors to the ‘Guardians’ Family
  • 05:15 – Pom Klementieff Teases A More Badass Mantis In ‘Guardians 3’
  • 05:35 – Will Poulter Teases Adam Warlock Origins in ‘GOTG 3’ 
  • 06:32 – Chukwudi Iwuji on The High Evolutionary and His Motivations
  • 07:20 – Chukwudi Iwugi Praises James Gunn’s Dialogue
  • 08:15 – Chris Pratt Recalls His Last Day of Filming the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Trilogy
  • 08:55 – James Gunn Is Literally Always Writing and Rewriting Scripts
  • 09:49 – Will Poulter Wants to Play Adam Warlock Again “If Marvel Will Have Me”

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