Sia has once again defended her decision to cast longtime collaborator Maddie Ziegler in her upcoming film Music, describing it as “nepotism.” 

In an interview on The Sunday Project, Sia addressed the backlash she has received from casting the neurotypical Ziegler as a low-functioning autistic character.

“I mean, it is ableism I guess as well, but it’s actually nepotism because I can’t do a project without her,” she said.

“I don’t want to. I wouldn’t make art if it didn’t include her.”

Sia went on to reveal that Ziegler was “really scared” about taking on the titular role of Music, in fear that audiences would think she was “making fun” of autistic people.

“I bold-facedly said, ‘I won’t let that happen,'” Sia revealed.

“Last week I realised I couldn’t really protect her from that, which I thought I could,” she continued.

“We sent it off to the Child Mind Institute and she received 100 per cent as performance accuracy. I realise that there are some things I can’t protect her from as much as I try, I guess that’s like what any mum or bonus mum would say,” she said, referring to her close relationship with Ziegler.

The Sunday Project appearance isn’t the first time Sia has addressed concerns about the film.

Back in December, she told 10 News First (via Yahoo!) that it wasn’t possible for her to cast someone of Music’s “level of functioning” in the role.

“There is no way I could have used someone of [Music’s] level of functioning to play her,” she said.

“I also needed a dancer, for [the character’s] imaginary life,” she added, referring to the film’s dance sequences.

Check out the full interview with Sia discussing casting Maddie Ziegler in ‘Music’:

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