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Cheaper By The Dozen’s Director Reveals The Coming Out Storyline That Was Cut From The Film

Disney+’s take on Cheaper by the Dozen, one of this year’s new movie releases, sought to change up the age-old story in a number of key ways. One of its goals was to inject some diversity into the proceedings, something lead actress Gabrielle Union was eager to do after having not seen much in family movies while growing up. And the kid-friendly flick greatly succeeded on that front by depicting the Baker clan as a multicultural, blended family. But as it so happens, the movie was planning to include another layer of representation through a coming out storyline that was ultimately cut.

The movie features a plethora of storylines, from Zoey and Paul’s obstacles as a couple to rising basketball star Deja trying to find her place in new surroundings. Of course, there’s also DJ’s first experience with a crush. When I recently spoke with Cheaper by the Dozen director Gail Lerner though, she explained that fellow Baker child Harley, was to reveal her sexuality to her family. The filmmaker also shared insight into why the arc was cut from the finished film:

We had a storyline that the daughter Harley had a coming out story, and it was a story that I really loved. And what happened was there were just so many B-stories … going through the whole movie that we just thought we have to lose something. And we literally just looked and saw what scenes were able to lift out, and that story lifted out so cleanly that it just told us the other stories are more essential to tell the story of the family. Like, obviously, Deja’s story couldn't go anywhere. Her unhappiness and truth-telling is what leads to the whole big revelation that this is the wrong life for them. You know DJ’s story about his dad was a really important father-son throughline. The bullying story completely told the story of how Haresh bonds with his cousin. And it's just one of those things where the actress, Caylee [Blosenski], did an amazing job. It was a great story we were all really eager to tell. But it just is always clear the thing that lives out the easiest is the piece that has to go. So I was disappointed about that. Everyone was really excited.

Caylee Blosenski in Cheaper by the Dozen

(Image credit: Disney+)

Such an arc would’ve been nice to see in the movie but, as the filmmaker mentioned, it was hard to keep the storyline in with so many other things going on in the movie. The director went on to shed a little more light on how Harley’s announcement would’ve been handled:

It was a very, like natural coming out story. It wasn't at all like, ‘This is a scandal that our family is against.’ It was a really loving, accepting story. So I was really sad to lose it. But it was just one of those things where we couldn't have a two-hour movie.

LGBTQ+ representation in film and television has been steadily increasing over the past several years. Disney is one of the entertainment entities that’s been looking to better portray the experiences of those within the community. For instance, the newly released film Better Nate Than Ever does this, without censoring any crucial moments. These kinds of positive depictions have become increasingly precious to creatives, especially in the midst of the ongoing “Don’t Say Gay” controversy. 

While some may be disappointed that Harley’s coming out story didn’t make it into the movie, it could always see the light of day at some point. Gail Lerner and Disney may choose to release a “Snyder Cut” of Cheaper by the Dozen one day. Sure, it’s a longshot but not totally impossible, right?

If you’ve yet to do so already, you can stream Cheaper by the Dozen with a Disney+ subscription.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.