Lauren Ridloff is a familiar face for fans of "The Walking Dead."
Her latest role, in Marvel's Eternals, is the first for a deaf person in the MCU and has the attention of Martina Moore-Reid.
"I think she's perfect! As a representative for people of color, for Black, Hispanic, deaf. She's a great representative for the deaf community," said Moore-Reid. "She proves to the general public that deaf people can do anything! And deaf people can be actors, actresses. And I'm so grateful for her especially being in a Marvel movie, that is very inspiring!"
Like Ridloff, Moore-Reid uses American Sign Language to converse. During the film, subtitles appear when Ridloff talks with the other Eternals.
"It's almost, very exciting for me personally because it's good to see, finally, there's a deaf actress there. And the producers I believe, I feel are becoming more accepting of people who are deaf or hard of hearing being in movies."
Ridloff's character can run faster than the speed of sound, and appears in several key scenes during the film. Moore-Reid says the film could inspire many.
"It does really mean a lot. Especially to young people. They need role models; they need to see people like them. And they need good role models, to show them that no matter what they face, whether they're deaf or hard of hearing, that they can be and do anything they set their minds to!"
She's already heard from on young fan of the film who said: "That it was awesome. 'I want to be an actor! I want to be an actress! It's about time that they showed deaf and hard of hearing people in this light!'"
"This person who said that was maybe 10 or 11 years old. So, I just thought that was a really good moment, to portray how great she is for us," Moore-Reid said.
AMC provides a service for deaf moviegoers and most of its theatres, including Durham's Streets at Southpoint.
"There has to be open captioning available at the movie theatres. They can see it, full screen, on the screen," Moore-Reid said. "But they've been frustrated because it's been sold out. So there's no holding seats for the deaf and hard of hearing. These theatres are still selling tickets and it's been first come, first served," she said. "But Marbles IMAX is holding tickets for people for this coming Saturday. It's gonna be at 3 o'clock for people who want captioning. Hopefully, we'll have good turnout!"
She sees Ridliff's breakthrough role as a great opportunity for people who are deaf and interested in a career in the film industry.
"Hopefully in the future, producers of these videos will see that we have deaf people in the world who need to be represented. And it's always good to get advice from the deaf community, instead of them setting things up and making things for the community. Nothing for us without us." she said.