LGBTQ ally and all-around hottie Jake Gyllenhall discussed his new Disney film last week at the UK premiere last week. Strange World, the latest animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, once again is historic for the film studio as it includes the first out teenager ever in a Disney film. [Hopefully one day we will stop having to celebrate all these firsts.]
Strange World introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog, and a slew of ravenous creatures. The voice cast also includes Gabrielle Union, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, and Jaboukie Young-White, who’s the voice of the out 16-year-old, adventure-seeking Ethan.
Co-director and writer Qui Nguyen spoke to Variety about the film and the need for representation, “I have a biracial family, so it was something that was easily relatable to me to [have] two people with very different backgrounds fall in love. And now my kid walks both those lines of us — fully Asian, fully Jewish — and that was something I understood inherently.” Director Brad Hall also spoke to Variety about the normality of Ethan,
“His gayness is one part of him. He’s also bold and wildly empathetic, which is why he becomes sort of the conservationist in our film. Also, he’s impulsive as teenagers kind of are. So to us, he was just a flesh-and-blood, well-rounded character, and I think we can’t wait for the world to embrace him as we did.”
The Brokeback Mountain actor spoke on the red carpet of the film’s UK premiere echoing the sentiments of the director and writer of the film saying, “they normalize the normal.” When asked about the out teen, who isn’t coming out or struggling, the character just “is,” the Day After Tomorrow actor commented,
“It is what it is and how we are, and to me that’s our world. It’s a ‘Strange World’ we live in but I think that’s what’s so beautiful about this.”
The Donnie Darko actor ended the interview by explaining this was presented to him early on in discussions of the film saying, “that’s so beautiful. That’s exactly how every movie should be.” Strange World opens domestically on Wednesday, November 23rd. Check out Gyllenhall’s interview on TikTok below.