The cast of Disney’s Strange World opened up about the film’s LGBTQ+ representation in a new interview.
On 23 November, the highly anticipated feature will finally make its way to cinemas after it was first teased in 2021.
The new film follows the Clades, a family of explorers that embark on an adventure “into a deep, uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await.”
Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Quaid, and Jaboukie Young-White are set to star as the Clades family, with Lucy Liu rounding out the cast as Callisto Mal – the leader of the land of Avalonia.
In a 2021 statement, director Don Hall revealed that the film is a nod to classic pulp magazines.
“I loved reading the old issues of pulps growing up,” he said. “They were big adventures in which a group of explorers might discover a hidden world of ancient creatures. They’ve been a huge inspiration for Strange World.”
However, one of the most exciting aspects of Strange World is its LGBTQ+ representation. In the film, viewers will be introduced to Ethan Clade (Young-White), a biracial 16-year-old who is openly gay.
The movie will also feature the studio’s very first LGBTQ+ romance – which will take place between Young-White’s character and his crush Diazo.
With Strange World’s release date right around the corner, the film’s creative team and cast opened up about the “organic” inclusion of Ethan’s LGBTQ+ identity.
“It never got broken down like that. It was more organic. His gayness is one part of him. He’s also bold and widely empathetic, which is why he becomes sort of the conservationist in our film,” Hall told Variety.
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“Also, he’s impulsive as teenagers kind of are. So to us, he was just a flesh-and-blood, well-rounded character, and I think we can’t wait for the world to embrace him like we did.”
Union, who plays Meridian Clade, echoed similar sentiments stating: “Folks keep using the word ‘normalise,’ and you don’t have to normalise normal. It just is.
“You got to see a loving family that was incredibly supportive of their child’s identity, and their version of trying to steer him to safety or steer him is more in terms of his occupation – and the route he’s gonna go in life.”
Towards the end of the interview, Young-White – who also identifies as queer – praised Hall and the film’s writer Qui Nguyen for creating a Disney project that not only includes LGBTQ+ representation but an interracial family that “reflects our world.”
“I thought it was pretty cool, just in the fact that Don and Qui, the creators, really have a commitment to just reflecting what our world looks like and what reality looks like, in a way that isn’t heavy-handed or forced. It’s kind of just the way it is,” he explained.
Strange World comes out worldwide on 23 November.
Watch the full trailer for the film here or below.