The film, which is written and directed by Sia, stars Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler. It is set to release in February 2021 and features a 10-song album from Sia performed by the cast of the film.
The news you've been waiting for! _ Music, the movie written & directed by Sia + starring Kate Hudson, @leslieodomjr & @maddieziegler, will be arriving in early 2021! Watch a sneak peek of the movie right here. pic.twitter.com/w38L2UtIhJ— sia (@Sia)
The film portrays Hudson as Zu, a recently sober drug dealer, who is now the guardian of her younger sister, Music, who is played by Ziegler. Music, a special-needs teen, uses a tech device to communicate and always wears headphones to listen to music, sees the world in a different way – bright colors and imaginative musical sequences, People reported.
For the film, Sia worked with the organization Autism Speaks, which has been criticized for its alleged polarizing and exploitative viewpoints, causing some fans to question the film before it was even released. But when Sia provided a sneak peek of the film to her 3.8 million fans on Twitter on Thursday, it sparked even more backlash that the singer may not have been expecting.
Her fans wondered by Sia had chosen Ziegler to portray the autistic character Music when there are so many disabled actors that could have been hired. One fan called it “offensive.”
Sia defended herself by saying she “made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.”
I agree. I’ve never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I’ve always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.— sia (@Sia)
But fans didn’t stop there. They said it was a “mighty shame” to exclude disabled and neurodiverse actors from their own narratives.”
Sia tried to explain that there were 13 cast members that were neuroatypical people and three trans actors as doctors, nurses, and singers in the movie and not as prostitutes and drug addicts. She said, “My heart has always been in the right place.”
But more criticism followed for Sia over the character as one fan said it was “totally unacceptable.”
Sia countered by explaining why she cast Ziegler in the first place. She said she did try “working with a beautiful young girl non-verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.”
I actually tried working with a a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.— sia (@Sia)
Sia also said the character of Music was completely based on her neuro-atypical friend. “He found it too stressful being non-verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother.”
I’m so confused. The character is based completely on my neuro atypical friend. He found it too stressful being non verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother.— sia (@Sia)
Sia begged her fans to watch “Music” before they judged her saying, “It’s a beautiful film with meaningful intentions.”
I really look forward to you seeing it. It’s a beautiful film with meaningful intentions, try not to piss on it yet...— sia (@Sia)