Actor With Autism At Center Of New Show
An actor with autism has a key role on a new coming-of-age drama on Apple’s streaming service.
Kevin Valdez, who is on the spectrum, stars in the Apple TV+ series “Little Voice.”
The half-hour show, which premiered this month, follows Bess King, a twenty-something aspiring singer who’s working the New York music scene aiming to fulfill her dreams of stardom. She’s also balancing a love triangle and the dynamics of her alcoholic father and her older brother, Louie, who has autism.
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Valdez plays Louie who’s obsessed with Broadway musicals and is struggling to adjust to his new living situation in a group home without his sister. The actor beat out 300 others for the role, his first on television.
“I believe that as an autistic person, I have this motivation to support people with autism,” said Valdez who was diagnosed with the developmental disorder at 22 months old. “My career can show what everybody can do regardless of your disability.”
In addition to Valdez, the show features a group of actors with autism who play Louie’s roommates at the group home. Those behind the series said the scripts were reviewed to make sure that they represented people with autism in a realistic manner.
“You think it’s going to be difficult (to) have five actors on the autism spectrum on set together, but they were so prepared and so imaginative that was a beautiful surprise,” said Jessie Nelson, a creator of the show. “Kevin and all the other actors who play the roommates were wonderful actors to begin with, so I dealt with them like any other actors. They were never playing themselves.”
In addition to Nelson, “Little Voice” was created by Grammy-winner and Emmy and Tony Award-nominee Sara Bareilles and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker J.J. Abrams. The show features original music from Bareilles.
A new episode is released each Friday on Apple TV+.