New Movie ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ Stars Actor With Down Syndrome

The Peanut Butter Falcon comes to theaters Friday, August 9, and stars newcomer Zack Gottsagen as the title character, a young man with Down syndrome who leaves home to follow his dreams to become a professional wrestler.

Gottsagen, 34, landed the role after his work in 2014’s Becoming Bulletproof about actors with disabilities caught the eyes of screenwriters Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. They were so impressed by Gottsagen that they wrote the part for him in Peanut Butter Falcon.

The film, which also stars Shia LeBeouf and Dakota Johnson, tells the story of a young man with Down syndrome who sneaks away from his retirement home in North Carolina and teams up with a crab fisher (LaBeouf) in hopes to locate a wrestling school he’s seen on an old VHS tape at the retirement home.

Gottsagen never let his disability get in the way of his goal to become an actor. He attended a performing arts school and took acting classes, and after years of training, he achieved what many thought he never would.

He says he hopes his role in this new film will help inspire others with disabilities. “People think that someone with Down can’t do things,” Gottsagen tells People Magazine. “I want to prove them wrong. If they watch me in a movie, maybe they’ll think that they can do anything too. Maybe someone else with a disability will follow their dreams because of me.”

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