Movie Starring Actor With Down Syndrome Coming To Theaters
A feature film headed to theaters later this summer stars an actor with Down syndrome alongside a pair of Hollywood A-listers and it’s backed by some big names in the disability community.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” features box office mainstays Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson, but the lead role in the road trip comedy is held by Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome.
Gottsagen plays Zak, a man who runs away from a nursing home to attend a professional wrestling school. He winds up traveling with LaBeouf’s character, an outlaw who’s on the run, and the two convince a nursing home employee tasked with returning Zak to join them instead.
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The film described as a “modern Mark Twain style adventure story” premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas before being acquired by Roadside Attractions, which plans to release the movie in theaters Aug. 9.
“The trio of Zack, Shia and Dakota is unlike any we’ve seen before and their adventure is awesome, heartwarming and inspiring,” said Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff, co-presidents of Roadside Attractions in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring the movie to theaters.”
Executive producers of the movie include Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver, Best Buddies Founder Anthony Shriver and Michelle Sie Whitten, co-founder and executive director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.