I got some juicy news for you! Did you know that I got to meet Zack Gottsagen, the star actor in the critically acclaimed movie The Peanut Butter Falcon? Well, I did. In fact, I even got to interview him!
I got to meet the directors of the movie, and after that, I started asking Zack and the directors questions. I asked the directors what was it like working with an actor with Down syndrome, and they said it was a new but fun challenge for them and that they really enjoyed working with him. I asked them how did you make the movie, and they told me that they filmed it in the Outer Banks and the mainland of North Carolina. I asked them if they have any advice for other movie directors who also work with actors and actresses with Down syndrome. They told me that other movie directors should be open to hiring more people with Down syndrome and people with other disabilities. I asked Zack how he got into acting. He told me that he knew the directors personally and that they just took a chance on him. I asked Zack what things he likes to do when he’s not making movies, and he said that he loves sports like baseball, basketball, and soccer not really wrestling. I asked him how acting helps him break down barriers in the movie industry, and he replied that he’s just doing what he loves, and wasn’t aware that he was breaking down barriers. I asked him who his favorite movie star idol is, and he told me Dakota Fanning. The final question I asked him was if he had any advice for other people with Down syndrome who might aspire to be actors and actresses, and he said just be yourself. Overall, Zack is similar to you and me in the sense that he’s just a regular person with many interests.
I liked how the directors said that other movie directors should be open to hiring more people with Down syndrome and people with other disabilities. I really, really urge you to go see this movie because it is the embodiment of what self-advocates like Zach and I are capable of!
“I love being an ambassador for NDSS because it shows others they can do things like run 5 half marathons if they want to and train really hard. I love that I get to wear my NDSS gear for my races so I can inspire others.”— Kayleigh Williamson