10 Years In The Making, Christopher Titus & Combustion Films Release Action/Comedy "Special Unit" Led By Cast Of Funny, Fearless and Groundbreaking Actors With Disabilities
A ten-year quest to make a movie starring disabled actors and comedians, "Special Unit" has finally become a reality for comedian Christopher Titus and his production company Combustion Films. "Special Unit" stars Christopher Titus (Actor, Comedian and Writer/Director/Producer of "Special Unit"), Billy Gardell ("Mike and Molly") and Cynthia Watros, ("Lost", "Titus") and also in leading roles Tobias Forrest, Debbie Lee Carrington & Michael Aronin, actors with disabilities cast as undercover cops in Los Angeles.
Due to the fairness in disabilities act, the Van Nuys PD is forced to hire four handicapped undercover detectives and their training officer happens to be the worst cop in Los Angeles. "I have friends who are disabled and they deal with a very different world. Aside from having a disability, they have the public looking away, or even worse, staring. Imagine living in that, all day, every day. On top of that, Hollywood doesn't give them opportunities often. If they do, it's in a movie playing a "special little hero," shared Christopher Titus. "This movie was written to cross that line and stop portraying disabled people as "special" and instead prove that they are just like everyone else - - capable, angry, funny, demanding, funny, fearless and again, FUNNY. We did not treat these characters as "precious" in this script. You can't make a difference feathering the accelerator, so in this movie we pulled the PC limiter and dropped the hammer". Combustion Films' motto is "Funny First" but after we get that, we want to make a difference with whatever we do. "Special Unit" was written to cause a shift in the way people see and act toward people with disabilities.
Michael Aronin stars as Morgan and was an inspiration for Christopher Titus in writing the initial script over 10 years ago. Michael was born with Cerebral Palsy and has been a close comedian friend of Christopher Titus' for many years. Aside from acting and touring with his comedy, Michael is a nationally acclaimed speaker who teaches his audiences how to get past personal shortcomings and to move forward in their careers.
"I met Christopher Titus 15 years ago, we worked together at the Baltimore Improv. I knew we would be friends for a long time," expressed Michael Aronin. He was warm and inviting, and brilliant on stage. Two years pass, and he wrote Special Unit the Pilot for Comedy Central. After four auditions I landed the role as "Morgan". I had the pleasure of being directed by Bryan Cranston during the pilot. After Comedy Central passed, 10 years later Special Unit the movie came to reality. The stars need to align for any movie to get made, but I never doubted Titus for a minute that this project would get done. He made me a personal promise that this movie would happen and Titus lives by his word! This movie has done what no other movie has ventured to do...have the Lead Actors be actors with disabilities. My hope is that Special Unit is the first of many films that open up the doors for actors with disabilities."
Tobias Forrest, a Los Angeles based performer with a disability requiring the use of a wheelchair stars as Mac in "Special Unit". Tobias Forrest was injured in 1998 after diving off of a waterfall into shallow water at the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, saved through the efforts of many strangers, he bounced back with a positive sense of humor and a passion to create. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Hawaii and has lived in several states since. After graduating from Valley Forge Military Academy, Tobias attended Northern Arizona University to focus on music and art. Following his accident, he received a Masters in Psychology but after moving to LA to get involved with spinal cord research Tobias found acting as his creative force. He began acting after winning a Christopher Reeve Scholarship in 2003. He has starred on stage in "Colossal" and "Pyretown", TV credits include "Wisdom of the Crowd", "Queen Sugar", "Weeds" and he is also a voice over artist. Tobias is also a singer and his band, Cityzen has performed at Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas Strip, won first place at Universal Studios Hard Rock Rising's Battle of the Bands and have played at countless venues and non-profit fundraisers. The song "Invisible Man" was written and performed by Tobias is also featured on the "Special Unit" soundtrack.
"Performers With Disabilities (PWD's) are rarely even considered for background parts so being cast as "Mac" in "Special Unit" was a huge opportunity for me to gain experience as an actor," shared Tobias Forrest. "I think this film can also be a tool to help other PWD's get consideration for the wide array of roles they can play. Our media should be an accurate representation of our society by including a diverse population of characters and "Special Unit" does exactly that. At the heart of this offensive action comedy is a positive message about awareness and acceptance."
Christopher Titus was seemingly an overnight success with his own TV series "Titus." However, Christopher actually struggled to reach that peak. His father was a womanizing beer-guzzling salesman and Titus endured a series of stepmothers until, at age 12, he decided to run away from home to live with his bi-polar alcoholic, schizophrenic mother. It was from these situations that he developed what he would later call "therapeutic stand-up comedy." With seven 90-minute comedy specials complete Titus has now set his eyes on filmmaking. Just as he approaches his stand-up, Titus hopes his movies will make a difference in the world. Titus is also currently in the middle of a nationwide tour for his eighth comedy special "Amerigeddon". https://www.christophertitus.com/tour
The movie Special Unit is now available on iTunes. For more information visit www.christophertitus.com
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