Ryan Cartwright does such a great job playing autistic Gary Bell on “Alphas.” Did he pick that up from a family member or friend?
—Amy Ocasio, Tulsa, Okla.
Cartwright, 31, who hails from Birmingham, England, says he prepared for the role by watching documentaries, movies and online blogs written by autistic people. He also read books on the subject by Daniel Tammet, Temple Grandin and Oliver Sacks.
“The firsthand accounts from autistic people in its true form really helped me understand the neurology behind [autism], which gave me the grace to come up with the mannerisms myself, knowing the reason I’d be doing them, as opposed to just meeting someone and copying mannerisms,” he says.
Cartwright also says that “Alphas” actually did have at least one autistic person audition for the role. “If someone’s a really good actor and they can do it then why not?” says Cartwright, who is also known for playing Vincent Nigel-Murray on “Bones.”
“But, at a certain point, it’s the business and the industry that would have to change. I guess why I feel good about [playing Gary] is that, hopefully, it will open the floodgates for more neuro-diverse people and disabled people to be considered.”