Friday 13th April 2012
Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery is helping to highlight the unbalanced portrayal of people with disfigurements in film.
The Essex-born actress, who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV1 drama, will be appearing in Leo, a short film featuring Leo Gormley who has burns and scars.
It will invite movie-goers at 750 Odeon cinemas nationwide to challenge their assumptions about characters with disfigurements in films.
The film, released on April 13, is part of the Face Equality On Film campaign, from charity Changing Faces.
It comes after a YouGov survey commissioned by the charity revealed that the villain or evil character in a film is usually identified through bad teeth, scars, burns and other conditions affecting the face.
James Partridge, chief executive officer of Changing Faces, said: "It would seem as if all the film industry has to do to depict evil and villainy is apply a scar or a prosthetic eye socket or remove a limb and every movie goer knows that it's time to be suspicious, scared or repulsed.
"The problem is that, for those who actually do have facial scars or whose faces are asymmetrical as a result of cancer, strokes or birth conditions, the way that people react in the cinema can spill over into the way they are treated in everyday life.
"Changing Faces hopes the film and campaign will encourage audiences and the wider film industry to think about how disfigurement can be portrayed in a more balanced way."
Cinemagoers are being asked to support the campaign by signing a petition calling for fairer portrayals of people with disfigurements.
To sign the petition visit http://www.facebook.com/ChangingFacesUK.