The movie “CODA” has been scooping up awards left and right and is currently a strong contender in the Oscar race for Best Picture.
The acronym CODA stands for Child of a Deaf Adult or Children of Deaf Adults. The film tells the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones) who is a CODA and serves as an interpreter for her family and their fishing business. Her mother Jackie is played by Matlin. Her father Frank is played by Troy Kotsur. Her brother Leo is played by Daniel Durant. Conflict arises when Ruby wants to leave her family to pursue a career in music.
The film first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it picked up the coveted Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award, Directing Award, and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. Apple bought the rights to the film for a record-setting $25 million dollars. The critically acclaimed film has been recognized through nominations at all of the major award ceremonies: the BAFTA Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, the Artios Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the PGA Awards, and the WGA Awards.
The movie has proven so successful that “CODA” is being turned into a stage musical by the Tony-award-winning Deaf West Theatre.
Deaf West Theatre Will Turn ‘CODA’ Into A Musical Play
On Wednesday, Deadline reported that the film’s co-producers Vendôme Pictures and Pathé will team up with the theater production in order to develop the stage play. Deaf West Theatre is a theater company based out of Los Angeles and is known for blending American Sign Language (ASL) with spoken English. They have created Tony Award winning plays like 2004’s “Big River” and the Tony-nominated “Spring Awakening” in 2016.
In a statement, the Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, DJ Kurs, said, “In the movie, there is a scene where the Deaf members of the Rossi family, confronted with an inaccessible school performance, take in Ruby’s song through the joy of others in the audience. This is an opportunity, then, to bring the story full circle by bringing it back to members of the Deaf community and by making the music accessible through our signed and sung live adaptation of the movie.”
“It is in the mission of our organization to be the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing communities and we are truly excited and honored to embark on this live iteration of a story that brings together both sides of the aisle and addresses the ways that we move throughout the world,” he continued.
Deaf West Theatre Is ‘Humbled & Honored’ To Bring ‘CODA’ To The Stage
Vendôme Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet added that “We, with Pathé, have been humbled and honored to see the success of ‘CODA’ from Sundance, through its premiere on Apple TV+ and awards buzz this season. This is a timeless story that we’ve always believed in and knew would resonate with audiences far and wide. For this reason, we are looking forward to continuing our incredible journey and bringing this universal story to life from screen to stage. We are excited at the caliber of Broadway talent interested in collaborating with us on the project.”
The cast of the musical adaption has yet to be announced. Production details are also being kept under wraps at this time, but fans are excited to get another opportunity to see the story of “CODA” being portrayed in a different way.
‘CODA’ Star Is Looking Forward To More Deaf Stories
— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) February 28, 2022
“CODA” picked up the win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2022 Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. Marlee Matlin gave the acceptance speech on behalf of the cast at the end of the night. Her speech was rendered into English through an ASL interpreter.
During the acceptance speech, she thanked the SAG Award committee and Apple TV+ “for trusting us, for believing in us, our movie… you bought it for $25 million dollars at Sundance. Only $25 million,” she joked.
She also thanked writer-director Sian Heder: “Thank you for writing the words that included Deaf culture. We love you.” She also issued her thanks to ASL interpreters and CODAs all over the world, which included her four children.
“You are all our peers. We Deaf actors have come a long way,” Matlin signed through her interpreter. “Thirty-five years… I have been seeing so much work out there all this time. I’ve watched all of your films, and I pay the deepest respect to all of you.”
“This validates the fact that we Deaf actors work just like everyone else,” she continued. “We look forward to more opportunities for Deaf actors and Deaf culture.”