‘This Is Us’: Is Baby Jack Blind in Real Life?
Fans can’t stop thinking about the This Is Us Season 4 premiere. After introducing a variety of new characters with seemingly no connection to the Pearson family, the writers flipped the switch and revealed how they fit in with the narrative. One of the most shocking revelations was Jack Damon (Blake Stadnik), the adult version of Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) blind baby boy. Now, This Is Us is back in the present day, where Kate and Toby are learning to raise a blind child. And while some viewers may know Stadnik is visually-impaired in real life, others are questioning if baby Jack is really blind.
The baby in ‘This Is Us’ is not really blind, according to Metz
In an interview with People, Metz and Sullivan opened up about their characters’ storyline for This Is Us Season 4. They also shared how baby Jack’s blindness will affect them moving forward.
“I did learn about how, instead of, of course saying, ‘Oh, look at this,’ you have to narrate what’s going on,” Metz told the publication. “We sort of take for granted when a child is able to see. Then with a child who’s seeing impaired, there are times where people are like, ‘Oh, Jack look at this.’ You just forget.”
Metz then revealed that the baby playing little Jack in This Is Us isn’t blind in real life. “The real baby is not seeing impaired,” the actress explained. “So it’s really about training your mind to narrate, or before something happens, to make sure that you’re explaining what’s going to happen as to not surprise the baby.”
Meanwhile, Sullivan shared what it was like working with the babies. “Once we got the hang of it, everything seemed to kind of fall into place. The babies that we’re working with are great, and they’re actually very easy,” he said. “It’s easier than working with the puppy.”
Stadnik is blind in real-life
According to the Los Angeles Times, Stadnik is legally blind. He has Stargardt disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration. And since he first appeared in This Is Us, Stadnik has opened up about his blindness with his fans. When asked if he was blind in real life on Instagram, Stadnik responded graciously.
“It’s ok to be curious,” Stadnik wrote with a smiley emoji. “Yes, I am legally blind. I have some vision; enough to get around in my everyday life, but I occasionally use a cane. I also use a number of assistive tech devices to do things like read or use my computer. Thank you for watching the show!”
The actor also thanked viewers for their support and noted the importance of representation. “Thank you to everyone who has shown me so much love after last night’s episode,” Stadnik wrote on Instagram. “It is a dream come true to be on screen with the incredible cast of This Is Us, and it’s an enormous honor to represent a low-vision character who is so powerful and nuanced.”
How Stadnik was cast in ‘This is Us’ Season 4
Creator Dan Fogelman always knew Kate and Toby’s son would be blind, per Entertainment Tonight. So, the This Is Us team began searching for the right actor for the part between seasons three and four.
“It was an interesting casting process because we wanted to cast a blind actor,” Fogelman said. “We had started our casting process very early, even in our off-season. I was looking for a leading man who was without sight and who could be funny, charming, accessible and sweet.”
And of course, when they found Stadnik, everything fell into place. “One of the wonderful things about our casting department was it wasn’t like they only found Blake,” Fogelman continued. “There were a bunch of really viable, wonderful casting choices that came through our casting department. Blake, when he came to us, was clearly the guy.”
Although the babies portraying baby Jack aren’t visually-impaired, it’s clear the This Is Us team is trying to be inclusive with Stadnik’s casting. And since Jack Damon is an adult, who knows? Perhaps fans will one-day meet teenage Jack, represented by another blind actor. But, as of now, only time will tell. So stay tuned.
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