‘Legit’ Star DJ Qualls Says Objections to Him Playing Character With Muscular Dystrophy Have Faded

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TCA 2014: “The response has been amazing”

DJ Qualls says objections to his playing a character with muscular dystrophy on FXX’s “Legit” have largely faded — because people with the illness like the show.

“The response has been amazing. It’s something we were all really careful with last year,” Qualls said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “And the thing we hear the most is that people are just so stoked that there’s somebody on TV with their disease who is an equal participant.”

Also read: A Paraplegic Viewer Reviews NBC’s ‘Ironside': High Hopes Dashed

Qualls’ character uses a wheelchair on the Jim Jeffries comedy. This season, the casting of Blair Underwood as a paraplegic detective on NBC’s “Ironside” helped fuel complaints that Hollywood should hire actors who really use wheelchairs when casting characters who do.

“Legit” aired before “Ironside,” and sparked fewer objections.

Also read: Hollywood’s Disabled Actors Protest NBC’s ‘Ironside’ Casting – When Is It Their Turn?

“There were a couple of people before the show came out last year who tried to launch online things saying that it wasn’t right that I’m able-bodied and playing this character,” said Qualls. “And that quickly changed over when people saw what we were doing.”

“Legit” traffics in very dark comedy, as became apparent when Jeffries cracked a joke about fans of the show with muscular dystrophy.

Also read: TCA: Why ‘Ironside’ Producers Didn’t Cast a Paraplegic Actor

“A couple of the fans have actually died since the show has aired, which has been very sad for us,” he said. “As we need viewers.”