With the film “Jungle Cruise,” Disney forays into new LGBT territory.
Disney’s new nostalgia-soaked adventure film “Jungle Cruise,” based on a 1950s theme park ride, with an unexpectedly current twist: one of the major characters comes out as gay.
Though not groundbreaking in terms of modern cinema, a sequence in which Jack Whitehall’s character discusses his sexuality with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Amazon boat captain is a departure for the normally conservative studio.
MacGregor, a young British fop, does not utter the word “gay,” but recounts how he canceled three commitments with ladies because his “interests gladly lay elsewhere,” prompting captain Frank to toast “elsewhere.”
Johnson, the world’s highest-paid movie star, told a press conference this week, “I felt that the moment was actually exactly what it was, which was two men talking about what they loved, and who they loved.”
But, with each of Disney’s small advances toward LGBT inclusion in recent years being criticized at home and abroad — and not only by conservatives – the exchange is expected to create waves once the film’s release on Friday.
In 2019, the US evangelical group One Million Moms (1MM) called for a boycott of “Toy Story 4” after the film featured a brief scene of two mothers sending their children off at school, accusing Disney of “promoting an agenda and exposing children to sensitive themes.”
A fleeting lesbian kiss in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was removed from Singapore and Dubai editions of the film, where same-sex marriage is outlawed.
However, LGBT rights activists criticized the unprecedented “Star Wars” lip-lock as tokenistic, as did a brief moment in Marvel’s record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame” in which an openly gay guy participates in a support group.
MacGregor claims that he joined his scientific sister (Emily Blunt) on her voyage to Brazil because she “stood by” him while others in World War I-era London scorned him because of who he “loved.”
Whitehall, a British comedian-turned-actor who is straight, said, “It was a scene that we really wanted to get right.”
At the film’s international premiere in California on Sunday, Whitehall expanded on the issue, telling Variety that the moment was “important” and “one that we certainly thought about and talked about a lot.”
“I hope people appreciate it, and I certainly felt pleased of the job that we’d done at the time,” he said, adding that he thought it would be a positive for LGBT children watching.
However, the. Brief News from Washington Newsday.