Actress Mageina Tovah's latest project is a film about autism called, "Hux." She describes the project like this: "A woman struggling with the isolation of autism, and trying so hard, but so unsuccessfully to connect with others, suddenly finds herself truly alone when civilization comes to an end. But when she encounters another lost soul, the two find an improbable bond in the midst of their desolation."
The film is a passion project for Mageina who wrote the screenplay and plans to act and co-direct "Hux." She has appeared in major shows like Scandal, American Horror Story, Shameless, The Shield, and the Spider-man movies to name a few. Mageina started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film. Learn more about "Hux" in our Q&A below.
Q: What inspired you to write this film about a main character with autism? Do you have a personal connection with autism?
A: My father is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and one of the conditions he specializes in is autism. My mother is a pediatric physical therapist who has worked with many autistic children. Between the two of them, I was exposed to autism growing up. As I got older, I read a lot about autism, including Oliver Sacks and Temple Grandin's work, and I became more and more interested in the condition.
Q: Can you give some backround on the main character?
A: The main character, Hux, lives alone with her dog in a remote little cabin away from the overwhelming stimuli of people, noises, and distractions. The cabin is her safe place, but Hux strives to be prosocial. She desperately wants to feel connected to others, so she pushes herself to leave her cabin and venture into the world of people, armed with her social scripts and canine companion.
Q: How has your past acting experience in film and TV prepared you for this project?
A: I will be playing Hux. In the last 15 years of my acting career, I have played many fringe characters. I've played prostitutes, drug addicts, a teen mom, goth kids, nerds, and paranoid schizophrenics. A power that exists, in television and film, is the ability to make these character who do not fit typical norms, not only more understandable and easier to relate to, but consequently harder to ignore or abuse.
Q: What message do you hope to send with this film?
A: I think the isolation many people with autism feel is something a lot of neurotypical people could relate to if depicted in the right way. In my research for the role, I've heard many people with autism talk about wanting stimming and meltdowns to be better understood by the general public, rather than having themselves labeled as "strange", "difficult", or "acting out". My film shows a strong but fragile female lead dealing with stimming, meltdowns, and the isolation and effects of autism, as the world around her ends. With a heroic character like Hux, I feel my film can help shed light on autism, and make it more relatable and better understood.