Duluth native Daniel Durant featured on tonight's 'Switched at Birth' all-ASL episodeA Duluth-raised actor will play a role in an unprecedented television event that airs today on ABC Family.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
A Duluth-raised actor will play a role in an unprecedented television event that airs today on ABC Family.
Daniel Durant, who plays Matthew on “Switched at Birth,” joins the cast in a show done all in American Sign Language — a first for a mainstream TV program.
And, according to the show’s creator, Durant’s role was expanded for the episode.
“The actor playing Matthew … is a find. We created a bigger role for him in next week’s all-ASL episode,” Lizzy Weiss posted on Twitter.
Durant was an extra on the series during Season 1 and has gotten more face time and character development this season. He plays a mischievous ladies man who sometimes — including last week — directly interacts with the show’s main characters.
Today's episode precedes the mid-season finale. Last week students at Carlton School for the Deaf learned that the school was scheduled to close because of budget issues. The deaf school will be mainstreamed to include hearing students.
Carlton students are fired up over the potential loss of the single sanctuary in a world designed for those who can hear — and the situation promises to get more intense this week.
Katie Leclerc, who plays deaf teenager Daphne Vasquez, talked to the Associated Press about the all-sign language episode:
“This is an opportunity for the hearing person to watch at home and try to experience it,” she said. “It’s not exactly the same, but maybe you can try to imagine what your everyday life would be like.”
“Switched at Birth” is the story of girls who discover that they were brought home from the hospital by the wrong birth parents. Daphne, an athletic girl-next-door, ends up being raised in a modest household with a single mother who is a recovering alcoholic, and Bay, a street artist, grows up in a wealthy family. The families — and friends of the family — end up integrating.
“Switched at Birth” airs at 7 p.m. today on ABC Famil and streams online Tuesday.