Sunday, July 15, 2007

Deaf Character in TV series replaced

"Bionic Woman" is an upcoming television show premiering in September 2007 on NBC. The series is based on the original 1970's version of "The Bionic Woman". I guess to make the series new and fresh they decided to drop the article "The" from the title.

Actress Michelle Ryan plays the main character Jaime, the female athlete "remade" after a car crash to become the bionic woman. The actress took lessons from a dialect coach (since she has to fake an American accent); learned Krav Magar (a martial art used by the Israeli Special Forces); and she started learning sign languages since her little sister (played by actress Mae Whitman) is Deaf. In the pilot, actress Mae Whitman plays the role of Becca who is Deaf and uses sign language; however, she is now being replaced with another actress. The TV Guide Blog (June 27, 2007) reported that an NBC spokesperson confirmed the character's replacement was for creative reasons, "It is very common to change story lines, characters, actors after the initial pilot is shot." Although producers are seeking a replacement, the new actress may not be required to learn sign language since an NBC executive "requested that the character's hearing be restored" (Wikipedia, "Mae Whitman" retrieved July 15, 2007).

To see a preview of the upcoming series (not Closed Captioned) visit:
The website includes some heated posts with comments stating that since NBC received negative publicity about using a hearing actress (instead of a deaf actress) to play a deaf character, NBC changed the character altogether.

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