What Donnie Wahlberg Learned About Mental Retardation And
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 3, 2003
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA--Zap2it.com ran an article Thursday about Donnie Wahlberg who plays a man with mental retardation in the upcoming movie thriller "Dreamcatcher". I was struck by Wahlberg's description of what he learned as he prepared for his role. Here are excerpts from the interview:
"The amazing thing is, I worked with a doctor up in Canada. He brought me a couple of videos, and I started watching them. One was a little boy from Maryland. They were starting this program where they were trying to integrate retarded kids into regular classes. This kid had Down Syndrome."
"I was struck by how -- if you actually watch these kids -- how normal they are. Your first impulse, if you were going to play a mentally challenged person or a Down Syndrome kid, you would think, 'How abnormal could I be?' But that's the mistake."
"When you really study them, you see how normal they really are, how intelligent they really are. It's just certain behavioral quirks or certain looks they have. It was fascinating to me. It was like, 'OK, relax.'"
"The audience may not think that I'm really mentally challenged, but guess what, I'm playing it more like one of these real kids by doing a lot less and not trying to be the typical, whatever, hysterical-actor kind of thing."
"Donnie Wahlberg Hangs a 'Dreamcatcher'" (Zap2it.com)