Disney fans around the world are joining the LGBTQ community in celebration today. Multiple outlets and sources are reporting that the live action film Cruella, being released in a matter of days, features the FIRST openly gay character in Disney history.
Cruella, a prequel to the 1961 animated film “101 Dalmatians,” stars Emma Stone as the young Estella de Vil. The film shows us de Vil’s transformation from an aspiring fashion designer to the fur coat wearing dog-napper and criminal. Co-starring Emma Thompson as Baroness Von Hellman, the head of a fashion design house who plays a key role in Estella’s journey. Leaked reviews are universally positive specifically praising Stone’s performance and the outrageous fashion.
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) May 20, 2021
The groundbreaking character is Artie, played by out actor John McCrea. McCrea reportedly has many scenes as a member of Estrella’s entourage. Rotten Tomatoes movie critic Grace Randolph supposedly confirmed the news of the first prominent out Disney character on Twitter after attending an advance screening. She also tweeted that Artie “has several scenes and plays a very important role, including saving another character!”
It’s the character played by John McCrea – he has several scenes and plays a very important role, including saving another character! pic.twitter.com/zC1vMUngIT
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) May 14, 2021
Taking on this history-making role rests on the shoulders of out actor John McCrea, and from early reports McCrea is exactly the person for this honor. A long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community McCrea has starred in the 2018 film “Everybody’s Talking about Jamie,” based on the hit London stage musical of the same name. He also co-starred in “God’s Own Country,” and “Dracula.” Never one to shy away from his identity McCrea spoke to Broadway.com, about being a role model and the importance of representation,
“I fully realize as a young gay man myself that I have a responsibility to speak for those people in the audience who may feel much closer to the outcast,”
There have been hints of an LGBTQ character through the years in Disney films including LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast,” Elsa in “Frozen,” and Merida in “Brave.” Many speculate that the inspiration for Ursula in “The Little Mermaid” was legendary drag queen Divine. Going further back one can also wonder about characters such as Flower in “Bambi” and Bashful in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
We will have to wait until the Cruella review embargo lifts on May 26th for actual confirmation of Artie’s sexuality. Cruella opens in theaters Friday, May 28th. Until then watch the trailer below!
What do you think Instincters, are you ready for more gay characters across the Disney universe? Sound off in the comments below.