Leslie Odom Jr supports ‘visionary’ Sia following backlash to film Music not casting Autistic person (Picture: Getty)
Leslie Odom Jr. has shown his support for ‘visionary’ Sia amid backlash for their upcoming film, Music.
The flick – which was written by the Chandelier singer- follows an autistic teen Music (Maddie Ziegler) who ends up in the care of her drug-dealing half-sister Zu (Kate Hudson).
Maddie’s casting sparked controversy with many arguing that Sia, full name Sia Furler, should have given the opportunity to an actor who is actually on the autism spectrum.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk about the criticism the film’s casting has faced, Leslie stated: ‘As an artist, you try things and it doesn’t always work.
‘But as an artist, you also know that when you make something, the other half of the conversation is the audience’s response. So you hope that people wait to see the work first but sometimes they don’t.’
The 39-year-old continued: ‘I try not to blame audiences for what they feel or what they think because that’s not constructive. Whenever I make something, I’m desperate to hear what people think about what I’ve made, good or bad.’
Creator Sia has faced criticism for not casting the character Music with an actor who is actually on the autism spectrum (Picture: YouTube)
The One Night In Miami star added: ‘But I will say that I had a ball working on the film. Sia is a real visionary, I think in the tradition of David Bowie.
‘She’s really one of those artists that… her channel is not blocked from the divine and so what she sees and hears in her head, she doesn’t judge those things that come to her and she just makes them.
‘She’s given us decades now of inspiring, beautiful works of art that has enriched my life, that’s for sure. Now we’ll see what people think about her latest creation.’
Leslie stars in the film alongside Maddie Ziegler (Picture: YouTube)
Leslie added: ‘Obviously, my ears are wide open and my heart is wide open to whatever the response is to Music when it comes out.
‘I know that the intentions were pure when making it and I’m sure people’s intentions will be pure as they respond to it.’
Leslie and Sia went on to collaborate on the remix of Leslie’s track, Cold, after the film and the actor was thankful for the chance to work with the artist on so many projects.
He explained: ‘I’m just so happy to know her and I walked away from that time with Sia, Kate and Maddie as a more daring artist, a bolder version of myself… Sia is a dear friend now. I continue to be inspired by her.’
Cheap Thrills singer Sia previously addressed the backlash over her new film and told Channel 10: ‘There is no way I could have used someone of Maddie’s level of functioning to play her.
‘I also needed a dancer, for [the character’s] imaginary life. ‘It’s not a documentary. Kate isn’t a drug dealer and Leslie Odom Jr. [who plays Ebo] isn’t from Ghana.’
Music will be released in theaters and on premium video-on-demand platforms from February 12.