While Disney hasn't publically confirmed it yet, the actor who plays “Artie” in the new Cruella movie has said in a recent interview that his character is queer.
Actor John McCrea has said his character Artie is queer in a recent interview with Attitude.
John McCrea Says Artie is Queer in an Interview with Attitude
McCrea, known for his role as Jamie New in the Broadway version of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, told Attitude, “It depends on who you're asking I suppose—but for me, yes, it's official: he's queer.”
McCrea went on to tell Attitude, “But we don't see him falling in love; there's no social aspect to the character. It's not beating you on the head with a stick. But his lifestyle is fabulous, he loves his life and it was so fun to play him.”
When asked if the character was written as queer, McCrea's reply was, “In one of the original scripts he was a drag queen, so I think he was always intended to be queer-representing I suppose, or somehow a member of the LGBTQ community. I imagine that was always the case.”
“If I had a character growing up like that to watch on the screen I would've fallen in love. Also with the idea that he's completely well-adjusted, very happy, and has a real lust for life. Those are things I'd find so exciting, ” McCrea, who is a gay man and long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community, said to Attitude about the representation he is able to bring through Artie.
Normal is the harshest insult of all.
The Inspiration Behind Artie
During our interview with the filmmakers, director Craig Gillespie talked a little bit about the inspiration behind Artie's character. Gillespie confirmed there was an (obviously) big Bowie influence in Artie's look.
Gillespie: “We wanted to sorta cast a person that would be fluid—and of the time—and not necessarily defined. Artie was so great with that nuance and just finding that personality. He actually ended up bringing a lot more than was on the page to that. And we even went back and shot an extra scene with him and Emily because he really brought so much to that character.”
Disney's LGBTQ Representation Has Room to Improve
Over the years there have been quite a few hyped moments about first “openly gay characters” and “LGBTQ characters” in Disney cinematic properties that fell pretty flat for many people in the LGBTQ community (Officer Specter, Onward; LeFou, Beauty and the Beast; the two women in Toy Story 4 dropping off their kid; the two women who freak a little when they find the octopus in the stroller in Finding Dory; the male antelope couple in Zootopia; two women kissing in the background, The Rise of Skywalker, to name a few).
We need to see these characters with some importance to the storyline, not as a background scene where you'll miss it if you blink.
As a bi parent, with a bi teen, we crave this representation on screen. All kids growing up should be able to watch stories that represent them.
However, while token representation is just that, this inclusion feels like Disney is moving in the right direction. They seem to do much better with their TV shows, so here's hoping.