The creators of the six episode miniseries “This Close” want to show the world the deaf community’s life experiences are just like everyone else’s.
The story of two best friends – who just happen to be deaf – living and working in L.A. is created by Josh Feldman and Shoshannah Stern, who are themselves deaf. Together, they’re paving the way with the first representation of the deaf community in front of the camera and behind the scenes of the Sundance Now show.
“This is 2018 and this is the very first show created by, written by and starring deaf people,” Feldman signs to ET Canada’s Matte Babel. “So in 2018 we finally have an authentic representation because of the writing. We are really lucky and excited to be the first but we hope we are the first of many to come.”
Starring alongside Feldman and Stern is perhaps Hollywood’s most-famous deaf actress, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. Non-hearing impaired co-stars Cheryl Hines, Zach Gilford and Colt Prattes reveal they learned some sign language to better communicate with their fellow actors. Well, sort of.
“I thought I was getting really good at signing. And I would put together sentences and just be like, ‘I got this,'” Gilford explains. “The story I always go to is ‘I like your hair’ and Shoshannah would say ‘Oh, thank you’ and I go, ‘Is that the sign for hair?’ and she’d go, ‘Nope. No, but I understand what you are saying’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m going to keep going with it.'”
The creators hope audiences will relate to the characters – whether they are deaf or not.
“I hope they don’t see it as a deaf show,” Stern signs. “I hope people will see it not as a gay show, just as a show that they see themselves in and relate to and makes them laugh makes them cry, maybe.”
“It definitely will make them cry,” Stern adds.