The latest edition of The Hollywood Reporter is dedicated to CODA, which is set for release on Apple TV+ and in theaters on August 13. The film is about a family that is deaf except for one child, who has ambitions to sing but has to decide whether to stay and help her family or pursue her own dreams. In the piece, the cat and crew explain why the film is such a groundbreaking moment in onscreen representation and filmmaking.
On the set of CODA, gaffers learned to never backlight actors or stand them against windows so that the actors’ hands did not get lost in the shadows, and the director of photography reframed shots so the signing was clearly visible and the costume department stayed away from fringe and other clothing that could hinder signing. When not shooting, [Marlee] Matlin asked [Emilia] Jones, who is British, to speak with her onscreen American accent because it was easier to understand when it came to reading lips. And when the on-set ASL master, Anne Tomasetti, stepped into the Rossi family living room for the first time, she quickly pointed out that in a deaf household, the couch would be facing the front door. “Suddenly, we were moving furniture around and setting up the living room in a way that you would have sight lines to the entrances and exits,” since anyone who walks in through the door can’t be heard, recalls Heder. “It was like this ‘of course’ moment.” Adds Matlin, “That poor set decorator.”