ABC Family has cast Lea Thompson, Constance Marie and newcomer Katie Leclerc in the key role of Daphne, in “Switched at Birth,” a pilot that is currently in pre-production for the network.
“Switched at Birth,” a one-hour scripted drama, tells the story of two teen girls who discover that they were accidentally switched at birth. Bay Kennish grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and two brothers, while Daphne Vasquez, who lost her hearing as a child due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls. Lizzy Weiss (“Blue Crush”) will serve as executive producer and writer.
Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future,” “Caroline in the City”) will portray Kristen Kennish, the wealthy mother of Bay (yet to be cast). Constance Marie (“George Lopez”) will take on the role of Regina Vasquez, the single mother of Daphne, to be portrayed by Katie Leclerc.
ABC Family put out a wide casting search for the role of Daphne, seeking out deaf and/or hard of hearing actors for the part. Katie Leclerc has Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo and tinnitus and degenerative hearing loss. Leclerc is fluent in American Sign Language.
“We’re thrilled to have such acclaimed actresses as Lea Thompson and Constance Marie join the cast in two of our leading roles,” said Elizabeth Boykewich, Vice President, Casting, ABC Family. “For the critical role of Daphne, we set out to meet actors with all ranges of hearing loss to play the part. When we auditioned Katie, we knew she was perfect for the role. Not only is she a talented actress, but like her character, Katie is comfortable in both the hearing and deaf worlds.”
“We’re delighted to see ABC Family cast an actor from the deaf and hard of hearing community for the role of Daphne,” said Dr. Patricia Hughes, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. “By casting Katie Leclerc, the network seized upon an opportunity to make a significant impact with not just viewers, but the Hollywood community at large, by reflecting the diverse world we all live in.”
The network is currently casting two more deaf or hard of hearing actors for the roles of Emmett and Penn.