An actor with autism is starring alongside Robert De Niro and other big names in a movie that’s set for a nationwide release.

The drama “Ezra” follows a struggling father who runs off on a cross-country road trip with his 11-year-old son with autism in an effort to forge a deeper connection. All the while, the boy’s mother, grandfather and the FBI are hot on their tail.

The script was written by Tony Spiridakis and is based on his personal experience as a father learning to accept that he didn’t need to “fix” his son’s autism.

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In the movie, the boy named Ezra is played by first-time actor William A. Fitzgerald, now 15, who is on the spectrum. In addition to De Niro, the cast is rounded out by Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne and Whoopi Goldberg, among other recognizable faces.

“We were only willing to cast an autistic actor to play the titular role because authentic casting is so important,” said Alex Plank, an associate producer who has autism and worked to ensure authentic representation. “I encouraged him to bring his own twist to the character and for everyone to give him the space to experiment with things. That included him ad-libbing some lines that made the character his own.”

Those behind the film said there was a concerted effort to include people in the cast and crew with close personal and family experience with neurodivergence and they screened the film along the way with members of the autism community to get feedback. In addition, the movie’s end credits were crafted at Exceptional Minds, a digital arts program for adults with autism.

“We saw we had a rare opportunity to involve the autism community at the core of this film, and I’m grateful that the producers and everyone involved all felt, let’s really do this,” Spiridakis said.

“Ezra” opens in theaters May 31.

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