Peter Pan star Noah Matthews Matofsky becomes first actor with Down's syndrome to land major Disney role
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Featured Image Credit: Disney
Peter Pan & Wendy star Noah Matthews Matofsky has shared details of the 'amazing experience' he had on set after becoming the first actor with Down's syndrome to land a major role in a Disney feature film.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, the highly anticipated movie, which stars Jude Law as Captain Hook, was Noah's first acting job, and one which allowed him to make history.
Starring as one of the Lost Boys, Slightly, Noah travelled to Vancouver for six months with his parents and officially became the first actor with Down's syndrome in a major Disney role.
"It was terrifying and exciting, because we’d been in lockdown so we’d barely left the street,” his mum Kathryn told The Sun.
“Then suddenly we had this chance to go to Vancouver for six months. It was such a great opportunity, we had to go.”
Noah described the trip as an 'amazing experience', recalling how he had his own trailer by the set and 'made lots of fantastic friends'.
“We all learned sword fighting, which I loved. I had lots of lines to learn very quickly, but it was exciting and I really enjoyed it," he said. "I had to go to the make-up trailer every day for them to put mud on my face. We would sing 'You’re Welcome' from the film Moana. We even did the rap part."
Despite playing the villain in the film Jude made sure to be friendly to the kids on set when he wasn't in character, with Noah recalling how he handed out ice creams one day.
“One of my favourite days was when Jude hired an ice cream van and brought it on set, then served us ice creams himself,” he said.
Though Noah missed his big sister, Lola, when he was shooting the film, he had a great time giving her a first look at his incredible role at a special cast and crew screening.
“Lola loved it,” Noah recalled. “She cried when the Disney logo came up at the beginning of the film. She is very proud of me.”
Kathryn said the film was a 'dream' for her son because he's always loved Peter Pan, adding: “For him to be in this big movie is amazing, but Noah takes it in his stride. I’m so proud of him. It was such a magical experience - there aren’t many people who get to go to Neverland every day."
Noah first learned about the Disney role through the inclusive talent agency Zebedee, where he was registered as a model.
Sue Moore, UK Kids Lead at Zebedee Talent, expressed her delight at Noah's involvement in the film as she commented: “Zebedee represents people with differences and our ethos is to push our talent forward regardless of whether the role is for a disabled person or not. We were delighted when Noah was given the role.”
With his first movie ticked off, Noah is now hoping to go to drama college while also acting as an inspiration for other young people with Down's syndrome.
“Noah is very proud of his extra chromosome," his mum said.
“As captain of the Lost Boys, Noah’s character Slightly shows that Down syndrome never needs to hold you back.
“It’s not a learning difficulty - it’s a learning difference, and we should embrace differences.”