The Jungle Cruise, the upcoming Disney film based on the amusement park ride, will star Dwayne "The Rock Johnson", Emily Blunt, and Jack Whitehall, who's role is creating mixed reactions online.
Whitehall will play Emily Blunt's brother...who is openly gay.
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
So why are people upset?
Well, because Jack Whitehall isn't LGBTQ. He's quite straight. And while that doesn't seem like a big deal, to some people in the community, it's a little bit of a slap in the face.
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
It’s not that it’s a problem to cast a fantastic straight ally to play a gay role, it’s that there are so many gay actors that are under represented in all sorts of roles across the board... and so I think that this is, fantastic, but also a bit sad 😔 #JungleCruise— James Barr 🏳️🌈 (@imjamesbarr) August 13, 2018
*runs in late*— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) August 13, 2018
On Jack Whitehall:
1. Of course it's okay for straight actors to play gay, and vice versa
2. That doesn't mean it's not a shame for Disney's first every major gay role – which will likely create a role model – not to go to someone who was gay or bi.
*runs back out*
Others bring up some valid counterarguments. For example, actors are PAID to pretend to be someone they're not.
Imagine being angry at the discovery that acting involves actors pretending to be people they aren’t. https://t.co/JaRObC2Lve— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) August 13, 2018
Or that straight characters are played by LGBT men ALL the time...
If Jack Whitehall playing a gay character is problematic, then so is Neil Patrick Harris playing the straightest character I've ever seen on a TV show, or Jim Parsons playing THE STRAIGHT Sheldon Cooper, or the cast of Black Panther because they're American not African— Snap: BrandonHappened (@NotBrandonLee) August 13, 2018
At the end of the day, we'll see if the outrage over Whitehall's casting ends up affecting the movie's success. The Jungle Cruise is set to be released in October of 2019.