Disney is prepared to introduce the first openly gay major character in one of its films but the casting for the role is already sparking controversy.
Actor Jack Whitehall recently announced that he had joined the upcoming Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt film “Jungle Cruise”.
Whitehall is set to play Blunt’s brother in the film, and according to The Sun, the character is described as “a gay man – one who is hugely effete, very camp, and very funny.”
Many on social media were not happy with the casting, though, debating whether it was appropriate to have the milestone gay character played by a straight actor.
In a recent interview with TimeOut London, Idris Elba was asked about his thoughts on Disney’s casting decision.
“Artistic licence is artistic licence. If an actor has the attributes to do something, they should be able to do it. They’re acting,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character. Though you do have to be black to play a black character.”
The “Luther” star compared it to James Bond and the heated debated regarding who will take over as 007 when Daniel Craig steps down – Elba has been closely linked to the role for a number of years.
“It’s nonsense. It’s a fictional character. I’ve got mad respect for how Ian Fleming described him. He said he was a white guy, looked like this… That’s how it was written,” Elba explained. “But then there’s interpretation. If we were always bound by the confines that something has to be [one way], people would never have expanded on things and come up with some of the most genius ideas.”
ET Canada has reached out to Disney and Whitehall’s rep for comment.