Normal Is A Dryer Setting
Wentworth Miller, known for his role on the hit TV show Prison Break, recently revealed that he was diagnosed with autism in the July 27, 2021 issue of People Magazine, stating that it was a “shock” but “not a surprise.” Was it brave on his part to share this with the world? Sure, and he has received a lot of support from the Hollywood community for it. But is it really that surprising? If the industry is readily embracing differences, what is the new normal?
Director Tim Burton hailed for his work on such movies as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands, doesn’t officially have an autism diagnosis, but his autistic tendencies and traits help bring a whole new cinematic experience to life. According to his ex, actress Helena Bonham Carter, “Autistic people have applications and dedication… [Tim] has an amazing sense of humor and imagination. He sees things other people don’t see.”
Actor Vincent D’Onofrio, who has received critical acclaim for his work on the series Law and Order: Criminal Intent, has outwardly acknowledged his struggles with dyslexia and autism. “Look at the way I’ve suffered from dyslexia in my life and the way that I write and read, the way that I comprehend scripts. It’s so different compared to some of my friends who can read a script and know it inside and out. I have to spend 10 times the amount they spend reading a 300-page script.”
In addition, D’Onofrio often discusses his insights and his struggles with autism, which have become part of his Twitter feed:
As a child, Dan Aykroyd’s obsession with ghosts formed the early designs for the Ghostbusters franchise. Dan was diagnosed with both autism and Tourette’s in the early 80s, and he has spoken openly about it:
“I had physical tics, nervousness and made grunting noises and it affected how outgoing I was… I also have Asperger’s but I can manage it… One of my symptoms included my obsession with ghosts and law enforcement… That’s when the idea of my film Ghostbusters was born.”
Their stories are not unique. I quick bit of research revealed the following: Billie Eilish (Tourette’s), Adam Levine (ADHD), Millie Bobbie Brown (hearing impaired), Jim Carrey (ADHD), Eminem (Asperger’s), Chris Rock (nonverbal learning disorder), Brendon Urie (ADHD), Cara Delevigne (ADHD & Dyspraxia), Johnny Depp (Visually Impaired), Elton John (Epilepsy), Peter Dinklage (Achondroplasia Dwarfism), Ryan Gosling (ADHD), Daniel Radcliffe (Dyspraxia), and Channing Tatum (ADHD). Even influential movers and shakers Mark Zuckerberg (Asperger’s), Elon Musk (Asperger’s & Dyslexia), and Bill Gates (Asperger’s) can be added. The list goes on.
It will be fascinating in the years to come to see what other celebrities openly declare their hidden disabilities. After all, “normal” is a dryer setting, not a barometer of the human condition.