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Disney’s highly anticipated Jungle Cruise movie, based on the Disneyland theme park ride, is getting some major criticism from fans this week. While everyone was thrilled that Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt would be playing the film’s leads, another actor who’s just been thrown into the mix has some fans extremely upset.
30-year-old British comedian and actor Jack Whitehall has just been cast in the film, which takes place in the 19th century — aka the 1800s — and his character is described as QUOTE, “a gay man — one who is hugely effete, very camp and very funny. This latest script, set at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable to be gay, is another significant turning point.” With Jack being a cis white male and the character being described as “very camp”, there was a TON of backlash to the casting decision.
One fan tweeted QUOTE, “Really Disney? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink.”
Another frustrated person wrote QUOTE, “Was really excited for Jungle Cruise but hearing that Jack Whitehall will be doing the usual straight-man-plays-camp-gay-man act has put me off big time. To be queer is NOT a punchline.”
But another fan took a different approach to slamming the decision. In his Tweet, James Barr praised Jack as an actor, and Disney for writing a gay character into the film, but also argued WHY it’s so upsetting that the studio went with a straight male actor for the role. He explained QUOTE, “Super excited about this huge moment for the LGBTQ+ family, and Jack Whitehall is amazing…BUT when so many gay actor friends of mine are turned down for straight roles because there’s a ‘whiff of gay’, it’s frustrating to cast Non-Gay people in gay roles.” The fan continued QUOTE, “It’s not that it’s a problem to cast a fantastic straight ally to play a gay role, it’s that there are so many gay actors that are under represented in all sorts of roles across the board… and so I think that this is, fantastic, but also a bit sad.”
That is a very valid and eloquent argument.
Of course, there were a few fans who defended Disney’s decision to cast Jack. One person argued QUOTE, “Shock as actor is asked to play someone different from themselves. Isn’t that kind of the point? Wouldn’t always casting gay actors in gay roles be condemned for type casting?” Meanwhile another joked QUOTE, “Outrage that Jack Whitehall is playing a gay. Does this mean criminals have to be played by criminals?”
Honestly, it’s fair to see points on both sides of this one, so now I wanna hear from you guys — what do you think of Disney’s decision to cast Jack? Should people wait to see the movie before they judge, or as the studio flat-out wrong or right to cast a straight actor? Sound off with all your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.
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