Lupita Nyong’o has apologised for offending members of the disabled community with the voice she used as the terrifying doppelgänger Red in Jordan Peele’s Us.
The actress, 36, was responding to backlash from disability groups, who criticised her for crediting Spasmodic Dysphonia as an inspiration for the strained way she spoke as the character.
Discussing how she came up with her character’s speech while on The View, the Black Panther star explained: ‘The voice of Red was a composite of influences and definitely a creation of my imagination.
‘But I was inspired by a condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder, which can be triggered by physical and emotional trauma.In my processes as an actor, one of the things I look to do is to find ways into the most human and most real parts of the camera, and to steer clear of a judgement of them as good or evil, pleasant or creepy.’
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She said factors like the way Robert F Kennedy Jr speaks, as well as her research on ‘laryngeal fractures, and vocal cord haemorrhages and [her] own experience with vocal injury’ shaped the way she spoke as Red.
Adding that she also met with people who have Spasmodic Dysphonia, she said that she ‘thought by speaking up about it, and mentioning it, it might have helped shed light on the condition.’
Lupita continued: ‘I understand that it’s a very marginal group of people who suffer from this, and so the thought that I would in a way offend them was not my intention.
‘In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonising the condition. I crafted Red with love and care. So as much as it is in a very genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real.’
The Oscar-winning actress then apologised, as she concluded: ‘So for all of that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended.’