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 Beast when 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.