A new movie starring actress Kiera Allen, who uses a wheelchair, and Sarah Paulson is a win for disability representation as well as a terrifying thriller that may be triggering for people who have survived medical abuse.
“Run” follows mother Diane (Paulson) and her 17-year-old daughter Chloe (Allen). Diane kept Chloe, who also uses a wheelchair, isolated growing up. But as Chloe starts to come of age, she uncovers some disturbing truths about her mother and sets off a series of questions about her medical care. The film’s tagline is “a dose of true paranoia.”
While not much is known about the movie’s full plot yet, based on the trailer, it could be triggering for those who have survived medical trauma. Events in the trailer point to a potential Munchausen by proxy (now known as factitious disorder) plotline. However, it’s too early to tell how things will play out. Allen told Entertainment Weekly she views her character as a powerful woman who comes into her own during the film.
“She leapt off the page from the first time I read the script,” Allen said. “She’s super smart and tough.”
Allen’s casting in the role of Chloe is also a win for authentic representation. According to Paulson, the film’s writer and director, Aneesh Chaganty, prioritized actors with disabilities for the role, something many other filmmakers still don’t do.
“I really applaud him for doing what I think most people in this industry should find a way to do more of, which is about inclusivity in our world,” Paulson told Entertainment Weekly, adding:
People with disabilities are the most underrepresented population across entertainment and media, and the majority of those people are being played by actors without disabilities. Aneesh was just absolutely insistent that [Chloe] needed to be [played by a performer with a disability]. That in and of itself is an act of courage, because a lot of people are afraid to even fight for that, for fear of being told that that’s just never gonna happen. And that’s what he wanted, and I think the movie is all the better for it. I hope it encourages more inclusivity going forward.
— Run Film (@OfficialRunFilm) February 20, 2020
Allen told Collider that her character serves as a great example of how to write for characters with disabilities. Chloe’s story and character arc aren’t defined by her disability. Allen said:
To see a character in a wheelchair who is, not to give too much away, but who is really kind of a hero and is her own person, and has her own mind and her own journey independent of her disability, and to see a character whose journey is really not defined by her disability; it’s defined by who she is as a person is a really cool thing because I’m an actor, I’m a person first. I don’t come in to play a disability, I come in to play a person and to have that opportunity is really cool.
“Run” is scheduled for release on May 8 and you can watch the full trailer below.