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Great Performance: John Hawkes

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Paola Kudacki for TIME John Hawkes
Performance: Mark O’Brien in The Sessions
“Mark O’Brien used to say that disabled people are invisible to able-bodied people,” says Hawkes, who plays the writer and polio survivor in The Sessions. “In between takes, I’d stay on a gurney, and crew members would set sandwiches and wardrobe people would lay coats on me. I got some idea of what it’s like to be thought of as furniture.”

For our 2013 Great Performances portfolio, TIME spoke with John Hawkes about his role as Mark O’Brien in The Sessions.

John Hawkes
Performance: Mark O’Brien in The Sessions

“Mark O’Brien used to say that disabled people are invisible to able-bodied people,” says Hawkes, who plays the writer and polio survivor in The Sessions. “In between takes, I’d stay on a gurney, and crew members would set sandwiches and wardrobe people would lay coats on me. I got some idea of what it’s like to be thought of as furniture.”

The Performers Speak:


See a Compilation of Highlights from the 2013 Great Performers

More Portraits of the 2013 Great Performers by Paola Kudacki

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