Movies Reviews

How The Midnight Club Shows Inclusivity Can Work in Hollywood

Director and filmmaker Mike Flanagan has an array of movies and shows under his belt, and has become the new face of gothic horror in film. He’s one of the big names in horror now and even has his own “Flanaverse” on Netflix. While a lot of his recent works have been adaptations of books, his own creative ideas have proven equally haunting.

Whether you’re an avid fan of his works or just a casual viewer, you’re likely to see some familiar faces in his works. And though he does have some recurring actors in his movies and shows, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t strive for diversity and inclusivity in his projects. Flanagan and his team have worked with various groups and lots of different voices during production in order to make their stories ring true, and that is especially accurate when it comes to the latest release of The Midnight Club. The cast features a lot of new talent of various ethnicities, identities, and abilities. This diversity worked incredibly well in the show’s favor, proving that Hollywood and the world of cinema can be inclusive if it really wants to be.


Stories Get Properly and Accurately Told

The show revolves around the titular club, which is made up of teens in a hospice house all dying of a terminal illness. The co-creator of the show, Leah Fong, has discussed the process of production and how many people they talked to in order to make the stories of the teens accurate and realistic. The team worked to make sure that people who struggle with or have been affected by the kinds of topics the show tackles felt heard and accurately shown. Not only is this better for the experience of the audience in terms of relatability and connection, but it also makes the story and characters that much more realistic and grounded. It’s clear from the casting and writing that Flanagan and company care about making their stories an honest reflection of the world we know (with some elements of horror and ghostliness added in, of course). But by working to be inclusive right from the get-go, there’s a solid assurance that stories will be told correctly and be admired by general audiences.

Related: The School For Good and Evil Gets Final Trailer Ahead of Netflix Premiere

Inclusivity Can Bring New Talent to the Scene

Diversity and inclusivity in terms of cast and team has seen an uptick mostly in the projects aimed at or centered around young adults. The stories of the younger generations are beginning to be told and represented more truthfully by a new wave of directors and creators. While diversity in YA cinema has certainly had an uphill battle, the progression of inclusivity has brought a lot of new talent that might have otherwise been overlooked. A perfect example of this is the actress Ruth Codd in The Midnight Club. This series is her first acting credit, and Flanagan’s team found her as a viral tiktok-er. Her character in the show is an amputee in a wheelchair, and Codd is an amputee with a prosthetic in real life, and had previously used her tiktok as a platform for talking about accessibility and needs of those with various disabilities. Even though she had no film experience, she absolutely kills it on the show. Her character is curt and brutally honest with very dark humor. Codd complements the rest of the cast exceptionally well, and does a stunning job of telling her character’s story. Without the desire for inclusivity in the show, she might never have gotten her chance, and the character might not have been portrayed nearly as accurately or as well.

Related: Netflix’s Wednesday: Cast, Plot, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know

It Brings Respect and Trust to the Directors and Company

Having diversity in one’s projects also reflects well on the company as a whole. It shows that the company is striving for an honest reflection in their productions, but that they are also a welcoming place for various actors– and a sense of welcome and inclusivity can go a long way, as most people will know that not every film set has the kindest conditions for those involved. But through the repeated examples and dedication to inclusivity, Flanagan and his team show that they are a company focused on honoring their stories as well as a company that provides opportunities for many kinds of artists and actors. This gives them a good reputation among other circles in Hollywood, but also makes audiences appreciate what they do and want to support them. Having respect and admiration on both sides not only helps keep them in business but also helps them continue to be able to tell the stories that get audiences so excited. When directors and companies strive for inclusivity, it benefits everybody involved– whether as a member of the project or as a viewer. Flanagan has shown over and over that inclusivity can and should be done in the world of cinema, and hopefully he will continue to do so with his future projects.

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