American actress Elisabeth Moss has been cast as the starring role in A Letter from Rosemary Kennedy, sister of late United States president John F. Kennedy.
Rosemary Kennedy had a difficult birth, in which her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and suffocated her, resulting in developmental disabilities affecting her for the rest of her life, among other things, including epilepsy.
At the age of 23, Rosemary’s father, Joseph Kennedy, arranged for her to be lobotomised in order to control behaviour that he deemed “erratic” and difficult to control. The procedure failed, and Rosemary was left incapacitated, no longer able to speak or walk, and was incontinent.
Rosemary was then moved to an institution, where her family rarely visited or acknowledged her. She died aged 86 in 2005, having learned to walk again albeit with the use of a stick, but never regained her ability to speak. Rosemary was the first child of the Kennedys to die of natural causes.
Non-disabled actress Elisabeth Moss is best known for her roles in Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale. Director Ritesh Batra is known for his Rail D’Or award-winning movie The Lunchbox, which was released in 2014.
PosAbility feels that, while it is excellent that Hollywood are producing a movie highlighting the story of a person with a disability, it is unfortunate that they have elected to cast a non-disabled actress in the role of Rosemary when an actor with a disability could have told the story just as well.