Casting Cale

Freshman uses acting platform to increase disability representation

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Photo courtesy of Cale Ferrin

On the set of the Hulu Original series, “Endlings” freshman Cale Ferrin plays the role of Finn alongside his co-actress Michela Luci. Ferrin spent 10 months in Guelph, Ontario filming the show that premiered in January of 2020. “I have a good understanding of how sets and crews work and how much goes into the production of a show,” Ferrin said. “It’s fascinating to me and I hope to eventually learn to write and produce my own work.”

By Kaitlin Reynolds, Millard West High School

The entertainment industry is dominated by actors who fit into stereotypical molds and it often fails to provide roles to people with disabilities. At just the age of 7, freshman Cale Ferrin recognized this inequity and the lack of on-screen representation for people like himself, which led him to seek out change by adding his name to the cast list of numerous movies and TV shows.

Cale Ferrin was born with Fanconi Anemia, a rare genetic disease that affects the bone marrow, which frequently leads to other health complications. Despite constant challenges, Cale Ferrin did not hesitate from auditioning for roles early on. 

In the beginning of his acting career he landed smaller, one-episode appearances on shows such as Nickelodeon’s hit kids series “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” and ABC’s “Speechless.” With more experience came more screen time. In the 2019 film “More Beautiful for Having Been Broken,” Cale Ferrin starred as the leading role of Freddie, and most recently he played the permanent character of Finn in the Hulu Original Series, “Endlings.”

“I have worked really hard to train as an actor and I am still learning,” Cale Ferrin said. “The biggest thing I have learned is to accept rejection: a lot of it. That definitely takes some practice. I have auditioned for a lot of big roles and to hear they don’t go my way is really discouraging, but once you learn to accept it and move on it gets easier.” 

His success in the world of show business has not come without difficulties. Since his home here in Omaha, Neb., is not a hot spot for the industry, he frequently ventures to larger cities. His longest stint of travel was the 10 months that he spent in Guelph, Ontario while filming “Endlings.” Coordinating the chaos behind the scenes of his acting career is Cale Ferrin’s mother and manager Brittney Ferrin.

“The hands-on part comes with managing auditions, becoming an expert at self-taping auditions, coordinating his continuous training and keeping his coaches, agents, project and bookings organized,” Britteny Ferrin said. “Then there’s the marketing side of things and making sure he’s ready and all of his information and photos are up to date. It’s definitely a lot of work but the whole family is so supportive that they also really help with everything.” 

Cale Ferrin’s acting career has opened up many other doors for him in the entertainment industry. He has hosted an online series with the Creighton men’s basketball team called “Meet the Bluejays with Cale Ferrin,” emceed events for Omaha Fashion Week, Project Harmony and Share Omaha, starred in music videos and Target commercials, and even dabbled in modeling with Nike. 

Throughout Cale Ferrin’s experiences as an actor and entertainment personality, he has emphasized and advocated for both representation of people with disabilities and awareness for Fanconi Anemia. 

“I like to think that my work is helping to make headway to changes for the disability community,” Cale Ferrin said. “Representation matters and it’s important for everyone to see someone like them on TV and film. I didn’t have that growing up on any shows that I watched, so I want to be that person for younger kids.”

Through his actions, social media presence and public speaking engagements Cale Ferrin has shared an important message about reaching dreams regardless of obstacles.

“We are not here to tolerate each other’s differences, we are here to celebrate them,” Cale Ferrin’s father Justin Ferrin said. “Cale is authentic, something that is very rare in this world. He actively decided to show his true self to the world and my hope is he has inspired many others to do the same.”

As Cale Ferrin continues to pursue his dreams in the entertainment industry he constantly has projects in the works, which currently consist of co-writing a young adult novel and acting in a new Apple TV show that will premiere this fall. All of his hard work leads towards an increase in representation.

This story was originally published on The Catalyst on March 15, 2022.