In its new adventure film Jungle Cruise, Disney introduces a hero who almost openly reveals his homosexuality, a first for this studio considered to be conservative. In Beauty and the Beast, 2017, a character’s similar sexual orientation was only implied.
The big-eared company’s new adventure film, Jungle Cruise, is sort of a first for the famously conservative Disney. Because one of the characters, played by Jack Whitehall, explicitly reveals his homosexuality without using the word “gay”.
The action of the film takes place in 1916, aboard a boat sailing on the Amazon. The character in question confides in his captain, played by Dwayne Johnson, and explains to him having broken off several engagements, because his “interests” reside “elsewhere”.
The absence of the term “gay”, however, drew criticism on social networks, AFP reveals. In a statement to the agency, Jeremy Blacklow, director of entertainment media at the LGBT rights group GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) said that “the implication of the scene makes it easy to miss it for anyone who doesn’t pay particular attention to it, or for those who are too young to understand the reference ”.
LGBT people increasingly present on the screen
Disney seems to be taking another step towards more representation of LGBT in its films. The very first character to appear homosexual was Le Fou in Beauty and the Beast (2017), at the turn of a dance. Director Bill Condon had revealed in an interview that Le Fou was “openly gay”. The film was not shown in Malaysia for this reason, Disney having refused to cut off the controversial scene, noted Première.
At the end of the film, The Madman, played by Josh Gad, waltzes in the hall of the castle and finds himself for a few moments in the arms of another man. Additionally, his behavior throughout the plot may suggest that he has feelings for Gaston, the hunter who is courting Belle.
A committed interpretation
In another recent film, Luca of Pixar, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, LGBT activists uncover a love affair between very young homosexuals, sea monsters transforming into humans on earth. However, director Enrico Casarosa insisted, during a press conference, that their relationship was purely platonic. “I really wanted to talk about a friendship that takes place before the stories of girlfriends and boyfriends complicate things”, he said, quoted by Slate.fr.
According to GLAAD, there were only 20 LGBT characters in films released by the majors last year, 30% of whom were on screen for less than a minute, AFP said.