Opinion is divided over Jack Whitehall’s casting as Disney’s first openly gay character.
The comedian and actor will star in Jungle Cruise alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt.
Whitehall announced the casting on Instagram, saying he was “so honoured to be part of this epic adventure”.
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View this post on Instagram
I’m so honoured to be part of this epic adventure – @disneysjunglecruise. Filming is underway and I am having the time of my life with my amazing co stars. It’s so cool to be part of something of this scale and also as possibly one of the biggest Disney nerds on the planet so exciting to be working on a project with this much history. Watch to the end of this video and see the most incredible set I’ve ever seen. They built it from the ground up and walking onto it for the first time a month ago was like stepping back in time. Can’t wait for you to see this film… #junglecruise
Both Whitehall and Disney have come under fire from those who believe the role should be played by a gay actor, after a source told The Sun that Whitehall’s character would be “hugely effete, very camp and very funny” and confirmed “he is playing a gay man.”
— Chris Salvatore (@CSalvatore) August 12, 2018
I love jack Whitehall but like
Just have a gay actor please
— bad gal rhi rhi (@rhiannaconda) August 13, 2018
Jack Whitehall playing gay for laughs is NOT the progress we need
— Hazza (@Clarkhf) August 12, 2018
Super excited about this huge moment for the LGBTQ+ family, and @jackwhitehall is amazing https://t.co/FwH4d7BZqZ 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 NonGay people in gay roles
— James Barr ????️???? (@imjamesbarr) August 13, 2018
Some have compared Whitehall’s casting to Scarlett Johansson’s attachment to the film Rub & Tug, in which she was due to play a transgender man. The actress withdrew from the movie acknowledging the casting was “insensitive”.
Scarlett Johansson walked so Jack Whitehall could run https://t.co/yhT2pKQ5Lk
— shauntay (@shauntae_stay) August 12, 2018
If Scarlett Johansson wasn’t allowed to play a trans man then Jack Whitehall shouldn’t be allowed to play a gay man. Especially so when you consider there are absolute hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him
— Sophie Wilkinson (@sophwilkinson) August 13, 2018
On the other hand, many argue that there are plenty of gay actors who play straight roles, and that the whole point of acting is that it’s transformative.
Have absolutely no idea why people are kicking off at Jack Whitehall playing a gay character… gay actors also play straight characters… it’s all a bit ludicrous
— Tom (@tms96_) August 12, 2018
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 typecasting? https://t.co/tfni2m3B1P
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 13, 2018
May lose some followers over this but I'm still going there.
Re: Jack Whitehall / Disney / Gay "controversy", he's an actor. It's acting.
Gary Oldman played Joe Orton.
John Hurt played Quentin Crisp.
Beryl Cumsatchel played Alan Turing.
Restricting gay roles to gay actors is daft
— Stan Bartolome #FBPE (@StanBartolome) August 13, 2018
The clue is in the word “Acting”
Anger at Disney over comedian’s ‘camp’ role https://t.co/bjsOAeRAoT
— Ｌａｕｒｅｎｃｅ Ｆｏｘ (@LozzaFox) August 13, 2018
Honestly. If actors can’t play characters different from themselves, then what, precisely, is the point of being an actor?https://t.co/goOqmXpca9
— Matthew Thompson (@mattuthompson) August 13, 2018
I don’t remember people launching into this ridiculous overreaction with Queer As Folk, Brokeback Mountain or Transamerica and their mainly heterosexual casts. If Henry Cavill was playing the role instead of Jack Whitehall, none of you would be saying the things you are.
— St. Nick Of The North ???????? (@PeripateNic) August 13, 2018
Whitehall is yet to respond to the criticism.
Jungle Cruise is set for release in October 2019 and follows a group of travellers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles.