Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

May 30, 2020

Pixar Films Bring Out "OUT" LGBT Characters are Welcome at Disney

NEW YORK (AP) — In Steven Clay Hunter’s 23 years as an animator at Pixar, he has drawn a seven-armed octopus, a Canadian daredevil and a wheezing toy penguin. But there were scenes he never expected to animate until he began working on his short, “Out.” 
Hunter wrote and directed the nine-minute Pixar film, which recently debuted on Disney+. It’s about a man named Greg who, while packing up to move, temporarily switches bodies with his dog, Jim. While frantically trying to hide evidence of his boyfriend, Manuel, Greg discovers the courage to reveal his sexual orientation to his parents.  
Greg, who’s loosely based on Hunter, is Pixar’s first LGBTQ protagonist. And while “Out” includes some more typically Pixar material (a pair of rainbow animals, a cameo from Wheezy of “Toy Story”), it features images never seen before in the 25 years of the studio, or in the longer history of Disney. Like when Greg and his boyfriend, Manuel, hug each other. 
“The first time I drew Greg and Manuel holding each other in the bedroom, I was bawling my face off,” says Hunter. “All this emotion came welling up because I realized I had been in animation for decades and I had never drawn that in my career. It just hit me.”
“Out” is a small movie on a streaming service, not one of Pixar’s global blockbusters. But it has already had an outsized impact and been celebrated as a milestone for inclusion in family entertainment. GLAAD called it “a huge step forward for the Walt Disney Company.”
(Pixar Animation Studios via AP)
“‘Out’ represents the best of Disney and Pixar’s legacy as a place for heartwarming stories about finding one’s own inner strength in the face of life’s challenges,” said Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media. 
From his home in Oakland, California, Hunter, a 51-year-old animator making his directorial debut, has humbly taken in the warm responses. He managed to meet his producer, Max Sachar, for a celebratory, socially distanced glass of rose last weekend. But he’s been reluctant to talk about such a personal film. 
“I felt like this was something I had to do,” said Hunter in one of his first interviews. “I didn’t come out until I was 27 and I’m 51 now, and I feel like I’m still dealing with it. You can’t hide who you are for half of your life and then not carry that baggage around. You’ve got to process it somehow. I got lucky enough to process it in the making of this movie.” 
It’s part joke, part truth that “Out” is labeled “based on a true story.” The first shot is of a magical dog and cat jumping through a rainbow. Hunter has had a dog named Jim but, naturally, hasn’t experienced a canine “Freaky Friday.” But the central story is autobiographical.
“The relationship of Manuel and Greg is something I went through,” he says. “I wasn’t out to my family and I was in a relationship but they didn’t know about him. It took a toll on our relationship and we ended up breaking up because of that. And that break-up led to me coming out to my family, over the phone in a conference room at Pixar.”
Hunter first came up with the idea of a coming-out film five years ago. But it was the Pixar SparkShorts program, which is meant to discover new voices and experiment with different techniques, that presented Hunter with an opportunity. After working on the Spark short “Purl,” he pitched “Out.” It was greenlit and finished by December. 
“It was cool that he was telling this coming out story but he was doing so while coming out as a filmmaker,” says Sachar. “It was really wonderful for everyone to be a part of and witness.”
LGBTQ characters have been increasingly appearing in Disney films but often do so fleetingly. Gaston’s sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) was suggested to be gay in 2017’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” Pixar’s “Onward,” released earlier this year, featured what many consider Disney’s first outwardly gay animated character: a police officer voiced by Lena Waithe who refers to her girlfriend. Some Middle East nations banned the film.
“Out,” finally, is far more straightforward. It includes, for example, a tender kiss between Manuel and Greg. To animate it, Hunter approached Wendell Lee, the only other gay animator still at Pixar from Hunter’s early days with the company. 
“I just went to him and said, ‘You’ve got to animate this.’ And he was like, ‘Heck yeah,’” says Hunter. “I said: I want a kiss. I don’t want a peck.”
Hunter recently watched “Out” with his family, who live in Canada, over Zoom. It was a moment of connection that he hopes plays out similarly for others during quarantine. For young and old, gay and straight, “Out” is about being proud of who you are, whoever you are. 
Reflecting on the film’s significance, Hunter on Thursday noted the passing of playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer. “Out,” not coincidentally, came out on Harvey Milk Day. 
“We’re just an extension of that. We’re moving toward more visibility. It doesn’t mean we’re taking over. We’re just trying to tell our stories like everyone else,” says Hunter. “And we’re not going anywhere. We’re here to stay.”
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

March 14, 2020

Disney CEO Shuts Down Anti-LGBT Homophobic Critic


By Gwen Aviles

The CEO of the Walt Disney Company shut down an LGBTQ critic who claimed that the company is losing money because its products "promote LGBT ideology."
During a shareholding meeting Wednesday, Caroline Farrow, an anti-LGBTQ activist, asked Disney CEO Bob Chapek if it was "perhaps time to see what you can do to make Disney more family friendly" and "safe for people around the world, not just one minority" given that the company's stock price has recently plummeted.
She also brought up concerns that the more than 400,000 people who signed a petition asking Disney to avoid hosting Pride events were not being heard. Chapek, who replaced Bob Iger as CEO of Disney last month, dismissed Fallow's objections in his response, stating that Disney believes in reflecting the diversity of its fanbase in its creative content. He added that producing inclusive projects will only become an increased priority for the company in the future. "We believe we want to tell stories that our audience wants to hear that reflects their lives," Chapek said.
As for why Disney's stock has recently decreased, Chapek attributed it to the coronavirus, which has caused global markets to drop, not LGBTQ content.
“In terms of the stock price, there’s a lot of reasons why the stock price might be down ... that has nothing to do with the issue you raised," Chapek said. "It might have more to do with coronavirus and the worldwide pandemic that we’re facing.” 
According to the media advocacy group GLAAD, Walt Disney Studios has been behind all the other major film studios the group has been tracking since 2012 in terms of on-screen LGBTQ representation, even though the company has showed signs of progress by including LGBTQ moments in films like "Avengers: Endgame" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Disney also recently made history with "Onward," an animated film that features an openly lesbian character voiced by Lena Waithe.
A number of upcoming Disney projects are slated to include LGBTQ characters, including "The Eternals" and "Thor: Love and Thunder" in response to the fans who have urged the company to avoid tokenism and embrace fuller inclusion.

February 29, 2020

The censors in Russia Cut Disney's First Openly Gay Character~ Someone is Afraid Russians Are Not Strong To Watch This

              Image result for “Onward,” a fantasy-adventureImage result for “Onward,” a fantasy-adventure

Russian distributors appear to have censored Disney and Pixar’s first LGBT character from their animated film “Onward,” the movie website reported Wednesday.

“Onward,” a fantasy-adventure that hits the big screens in Russia on March 5, introduces a cyclops police officer named Specter as the studios’ first-self identified lesbian character. Officer Specter appears in one scene, where she casually mentions having a girlfriend. 

Viewers who watched “Onward” dubbed in Russian told Kinopoisk that the word “girlfriend” had been changed to the more neutral “partner” and avoids mentioning Specter’s gender.

“Presumably, Disney’s Russia branch tried to avoid unnecessary problems with the anticipated project’s release,” the website wrote.

A Disney spokesperson in Russia declined to comment on Kinopoisk’s queries.

This is at least the third known censorship of a gay scene from a foreign film in Russia since the country passed a controversial 2013 law banning “homosexual propaganda” to minors.

Last year, Russian distributors cut gay sex and kissing scenes from the Elton John biopic “Rocketman.” Similarly, Russia’s version of Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” altered a gay character’s description of a date to the less romantic “dinner.”

Non-LGBT scenes have also faced tweaks before hitting Russian cinemas.

Sergei, a Russian villain in the 2019 animated film “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” became a Frenchman named Serge in the film’s Russian version. 

Last year’s superhero film “Hellboy” replaced the titular character’s mention of Stalin with Hitler.

Russia has also canceled screenings of other movies, including “The Death of Stalin” and “Child 44,” for their portrayal of sensitive subjects in the Soviet past.

February 11, 2019

You Never Hear This at Disney: "and I’m gay” by Cyrus Goodman

(pic by twitter)

Cyrus Goodman is a very important person not just in the show Andi Mack or the Disney Channel universe, but for representation in the entirety of media. The teenage character is Disney's first officially confirmed, openly LGBTQ+ character. On Friday's episode of the coming-of-age series, Cyrus (who is played by actor Joshua Rush) came out to his best straight male friend and former crush, Jonah Beck (Asher Angel). 

Cyrus isn't only gay, he's also Jewish. The monumental scene happened after the character's grandmother had passed, and he invited his friends over for her shiva. As he and his friend Jonah hovered over the table lined with different types of traditional Jewish dishes and treats, he explained, "That, of course, is Aunt Ruthy's kugel. That's your classic bagel and lox. That's gvelta fish, skip that... and I'm gay."

Jonah received the news in the best way an any queer person could hope for — with a warm smile, and an "Okay. Cool!" making the moment feel warm, organic and a win overall.

This moment shook the show's fans to the core. One fan tweeted, "CYRUS GOODMAN JUST MADE DISNEY CHANNEL HISTORY." Actor Joshua Rush retweeted, commenting, "Every day is a blessing working on this show. This milestone is just another stitch in a rich and vibrant tapestry that is Cyrus Goodman."

#CyrusGoodman and #AndiMack became trending topics in the US the day the episode aired, and rightfully so. Read some of the best Twitter reactions, below.

˗ˏˋ bee loves cyrus ˎˊ˗ @tyruskippn ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay ...and i'm gay thank you joshua rush, cyrus goodman, & disney channel.

February 6, 2019

Disneyland Will Officiate The Gay Day Pride Event in Paris!

disneyland, paris, france Stock Photo
Disneyland Paris is officially opening its gates to a celebration called Magical Pride at the start of Pride Month in June this year. The theme park’s website states that through the event, it seeks to celebrate diversity with a “dazzling party” that includes a parade, a dance party, late-night rides and more surprises on June 1.
Travel packages are available at the website, with a Magical Pride ticket starting at £78.28 (around P5,340).
This is the first time that Disneyland Paris is officially acknowledging the LGBTQ+ pride event after unofficial ones have been held at the theme park since 2014, reported CBS last Feb. 1.
“Gay days” have also been routinely held at Disney theme parks in the United States since 1991 amid criticism from religious and conservative groups.
A Walt Disney Company spokesperson told NBC News, “Diversity and equality are strong values at Disneyland Paris, and each year, we host millions of visitors regardless of their origins, gender or sexual orientation.”
“We are committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all of our Guests where magic is for everyone.”  /ra 

  @inquirerdotnet on Twitter 

August 27, 2018

Disney's Backlash Over Straight Actor Playing a Gay One Keeps Brewing

Production is currently underway on Disney's Jungle Cruise, the latest of its theme park attractions to be turned into a feature-length movie. Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, and while plot details for the movie remain slim, a report indicated that the movie would feature an openly gay character to be played by Jack Whitehall. If true, it's a significant move for Disney, but the report has gotten backlash due to Whitehall's character being described as "camp" and "effete," in addition to the role being played by a straight man.
In the original report from The Sun, the publication claimed that Jack Whitehall would be playing an openly gay character, which the unnamed source described as "hugely effete, very camp, and very funny." The news has not been confirmed by Disney, but the report is getting backlash from moviegoers upset with the characters description. Part of the complaint is that the character is described with stereotypical traits for a homosexual. 
Comedian James Barr summed up his thoughts on social media, writing that it's frustrating when straight actors are cast for these parts, while gay actors have a harder time securing roles as heterosexual characters. Additionally, people are upset that a straight actor was cast as a gay character in what would a significant moment in LGBT history. The role would be Disney's first openly gay character in a blockbuster, and some feel that a gay actor should play it.  This situation might give people flashbacks the live action Beauty and the Beastwhen Disney marketed the Le Fou character as its first gay character. While Le Fou was gay, he was not open during the majority of the movie, and it really only became clear in the final seconds of the film, not living up to the expectations that the studio itself had set. This too received backlash from the LGBT community, and it is unclear how Jungle Cruise will be affected going forward. 
It's clear that this is an important issue for many people and we will have to wait until more details about Jungle Cruise are revealed. The movie is currently still filming and stars Dwayne Johnson as a ship captain who takes a sister and brother (Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall) on a journey through the jungle to find a magical tree with healing powers. Jungle Cruise is scheduled to open in theaters nationwide October 11, 2019.

August 15, 2018

Disney Is Playing A Bait and Switch with the Public by Putting Out a Straight Jack for The Jungle Cruise

  Jack Whitehall and His Girlfriend Gemma

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to position yourself when it comes to equality. When asked, most of us would say we believe in it, encourage it, expect it. But occasionally a conundrum comes along that seems to have been created only to catch us out or test our perception of what it means to be equal.

As a gay man, and thus an automatic member of the LGBTQ community, I see my right to exist be free questioned on an almost hourly basis thanks to the power of the internet, and I have a crick in my neck from reaching up to the breadcrumbs of equality society has deigned to offer from its withered hand. This is why when it was announced Disney was making The Jungle Cruise, a movie which would feature a character who was “openly gay” – a phrase that in itself makes the idea seem like a sideshow at a carnival rather than a long overdue wrong being righted – I was cautious. The 21st century has taught me to react to ostensibly good news slowly, to wait for the punchline. In this case, it came in the form of the casting of Jack Whitehall, a British comedian and actor well known for his campy, posh-boy routine, including his own sitcom Bad Education, in which he played an effete, unlucky-in-love teacher. Whitehall’s own sexuality is, as far as I know, not confirmed, but until recently he was in a relationship with fellow actor Gemma Chan, so unless he is bi, a default view here would be that he’s straight. And this is where problems begin.
The casting of non-cisgender, queer or LGBTQ roles has been a hot topic recently – Scarlett Johansson became a meme thanks to taking on, before pulling out of, the role of a trans man – and Whitehall’s casting has attracted a great deal of debate, some of it enlightening and considered but mostly witless and hysterical. In the hours after the revelation, knee-jerk reactions and delirious takes from both sides seeped into every corner of the internet like red wine on a white rug. Some say it’s fine for a straight man to play a gay character, while others claim it’s unfair on gay actors, and guess what? They are both right, when talking generally. But this is an exceptional case and much of the debate centring around the Project Fear-esque assertion that “soon only gay actors will be able to play gay characters, so does that mean they can’t play straight any more?!” comes from one key misunderstanding – the true meaning of equality.

Whatever the dictionary might tell you, equality is not about treating everyone exactly the same, at all times. True equality comes from amplifying, raising up and offering opportunities to those whose lives have been blighted by inequality. The ones who have been left behind, ignored, forgotten and have suffered prejudice, unfairness and stereotyping. Levelling the playing field would take centuries of renovations and it’s pointless to pretend otherwise, so instead we make sure those who’ve never felt equality are offered the same chances as those who have historically dominated.
Nobody sensible is saying gay actors can’t play straight any more, or that gay characters can never be played by a heterosexual, but what we are saying is every gay role needs extra consideration – yes, every single one. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where any modicum of LGBTQ representation is scrutinised by everyone on the spectrum. Is the role doing enough? Is the right person playing it? What impact could this have – negative and positive? Straight roles are ten a penny, they are everywhere, the default. Go count the number of LGBTQ characters in your local multiplex or on TV tonight. You won’t run out of fingers, I imagine.
But it’s also important we give Whitehall a fair hearing. “You’re not gay so you can’t play the role” doesn’t cut it at all, I’m afraid. Instead, let me explain. This is the first major “openly gay” role in a Disney movie. Disney movies have a reach and influence we can barely imagine – it is huge, the Princess Diana of celluloid. Your favourite Disney films carbon-date you. They are part of your childhood, and your children’s, and beyond. Imagine the impact this casting could've had on children, and their parents, if it had been an actual gay or bisexual actor doing the promo trail and talking about the role in relation to his own experience. It’s a sad truth there are fewer gay roles, especially in family movies like this, and having gay actors play them can help normalise the gay experience to a guaranteed global audience. It’s important to acknowledge the impact gay characters, and the people who play them, can have. They’re not like other roles; there is more hope and responsibility attached to them, and this one in particular is a landmark.

There have been complaints the gay character in The Jungle Cruise is very camp and very funny. This I don’t see as much of a problem – camp gay men exist, deal with it. But there is an angle here that a straight man acting out stereotypically gay characteristics on screen while actual gay actors get turned down for roles for not being butch enough or being “too gay” – even for gay roles, by the way – is another sign of imbalance.

And that’s why the casting of Whitehall isn’t appropriate on this occasion – not because of him, or his acting skills, or his race, or any of the low-grade insults you want to pick out of the barrage of unnecessary abuse he’s received over the last two days. It’s because it perpetuates the lopsidedness of LGBTQ representation in an overwhelmingly heterosexual world. This isn’t a personal issue with Jack: he’s a self-confessed Disney nut and this role no doubt means the world to him, so who could blame him for taking the challenge? The problem lies with those making the decisions about the character, and his casting; whatever their background or their intent, their approach needs work. They must read the room.
This role, this chance, this potential for glory, all should have been offered to a gay actor. The character and the audience deserve it.

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