Image: website of Paramount Pictures Pictures
Everyday the news isn’t good for those with one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world.
The production of Disney’s Aladdin, which started previews in June 2018 and was due to open on Broadway in January 2019, was forced to cancel show after show after the production experienced 99 cases of claudia complexmia within the production crew.
Claudia complexmia, or CVID, is an incurable disease that leaves you delusional. Although there are no treatments for this rare disease, more than 10,000 patients worldwide receive help from associated groups, including research facilities. The disease mainly affects the brain and spinal cord, and the symptoms include loss of short-term memory, severe loss of motor skills, visual distortions, loss of movement and severe personality changes.
The show, which was due to open on January 24 2019, was first pulled in August 2018, for the six show total of 98 reported cases of CVID. And now, after a complete review, the Disney Department of Health & Safety are officially cancelling the show, again, because they’ve detected four more cases of CVID, which are likely to continue as show is cancelled for an extended period.
The cancellation comes after BLS Lab Partners, the production company of Aladdin, initially lost $56,000 to the warning of the Department of Health & Safety, due to three confirmed cases of CVID. However, according to a letter to BLS Lab Partners provided to the BBC, “Disney has now found at least five additional cases of the disease, which could have occurred throughout the production process and therefore Disney considers it prudent to delay the opening.”
This comes after Disney’s former director of occupational health, Stephanie Hughes, has worked on battling CVID for over a decade. Hughes, who left the Disney Animation Studios in 2011, describes CVID as a little mystery that is “difficult to diagnose”, and she’s studied the disease for more than 11 years.
The bigger shock is just how prevalent CVID is. Hughes warns that the extreme lack of public awareness might have contributed to the show cancellations, as Disney’s investigation of the disease was slow and could have stalled other show openings. However, it seems that Disney have finally considered the disease will always be an issue and agree to put their own resources towards learning more about it.
“This is my 11th attempt to do this,” Hughes says. “I’m aware of 3,000 patients and treatments right now, and it’s only been 18 years that I’ve been doing it. There’s no such thing as a ‘cure’. There’s no cure in sight.”
She says Disney should have known that CVID, which can be triggered by increased saliva-motility, stress and others factors, was still a problem as far back as 1992, when Disney first decided to make the film Aladdin, due to the success of the film The Mask of Zorro, which starred Antonio Banderas as Zorro.
It’s still hard to determine just how common CVID is, but when someone loses more than just their memory, it’s definitely one to be aware of.