Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard have told Sky News they believe their new series See will pave the way for more roles for blind actors on screen.
Both Momoa and Woodard, as well as the other sighted stars, received extensive training with the help of Joe Strechay, a visually impaired blindness consultant who works on entertainment projects.
“For a solid month all we did was do blindness training, not just the primary cast, but all the stunt people, all the background actors,” said Woodard. “We all had to learn the language of how to navigate the world without sight.
“Joe became a very dear friend as well as our blindness coach. There was nothing we couldn’t ask him, because basically you’re a toddler and you’re saying, teach me the language.
“For a month [we had] all kinds of exercises: how to use how to use a stick, how to echolocate, how to use your other senses – smell, taste and touch. To figure your way around a room or a situation that normally you would depend on your eyes to do, and then we had to translate just the glimpse of that new language into how we incorporate it into our acting style.”
Momoa said the show’s stars all learned from the blind and visually impaired actors and advisers on set.
“Absolutely. I mean, we’re actors, so it’s kind of great because we get to study them… I would definitely study Joe all the time. And Joe’s so good that you have to go further because he doesn’t look like he’s blind… I constantly went to him and other cast members. It was great.”
Momoa, who played Dothraki chief Khal Drogo in the first series of Game Of Thrones, says his role in See is his greatest and most challenging yet.
Ahead of its release, comparisons are already being made, but the star is quick to play them down.
“Nothing compares to Game of Thrones,” he says. “To me, it’s one of the greatest shows of recent history. You know, this is first season. There’s so many different worlds… this doesn’t really compare. But personally? This is better for me.
“Drogo really doesn’t say much. He falls in love for a second, then he dies. A lot of people connected with that, it was a great role, but that series is its own realm. This is not that. It’s its own world and it’s beautiful.
“I don’t like comparing the two, the only thing they have in common is I’m in both. But personally, I can do a lot of great… I get to talk, I get to speak English – it’s pretty fun. I get to smile and fall in love, and it lasts more than eight episodes. So I’m pretty excited.”
As one of the flagship Apple TV+ launch shows, See premieres on Friday alongside the much-hyped The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Are TV series and streaming the future for Hollywood?
“I think so,” says Woodard. “I’ll go wherever the story is good. It’s like, you give me a good story, I follow. I think the writer is queen or king, but there’s no putting this genie back in the bottle. So, you know, I think it actually is stepping up TV’s game.
“This will last as long as it lasts before the next innovation happens… Who knows how fast it’s going to go? But for now, this is the going currency.”
See is out on Apple TV+ on Friday