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Meet the Gay Cruella Star Portraying Disney's First Major LGBTQ+ Role 

John McCrea

A critic spotted a groundbreaking gay character in Cruella.

Grace Randolph, a writer with Rotten Tomatoes, noted the history-making role in a tweet last Friday following an advanced screening.

"We have the 1st officially out and proud #Disney character in her gang!" Randolph tweeted along with a rainbow flag emoji.

"It’s the character played by John McCrea," Randolph added in the Twitter thread. "He has several scenes and plays a very important role, including saving another character!"

In Cruella, John McCrea plays Artie, a member of Cruella's entourage. Emma Stone portrays the titular role in the upcoming film directed by Craig Gillespie, which also features Emma Thompson as her overbearing boss in the fashion industry, The Baroness. Similar to Maleficent, the live-action production shows the younger years and the making of an iconic Disney villain — this time, the puppy-snatching antagonist from 101 Dalmatians.

In the past, McCrea has acted in several LGBTQ+ productions, including God's Own Country and Dracula. He also starred in the filmed 2018 stage version of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, the musical about a teen who becomes a drag queen. 

In what will please some LGBTQ+ critics, McCrea is an out gay man who is not press-shy about his identity. "I fully realize as a young gay man myself that I have a responsibility to speak for those people in the audience who may feel much closer to the outcast," he told Broadway.com in 2017 about his Jamie role.

Cruella's May 28 premiere is good timing for Disney, which previously was slammed for casting a straight actor, Jack Whitehall, in a gay role in Jungle Cruise. Now McCrea will make history as the first actor to play a major LGBTQ+ role in a Disney production, following Lena Waithe's breakthrough lesbian character in Pixar's Onward.

While many Disney villains have been coded as gay in past animated films, this would be a first for the children's entertainment empire.

Watch the Cruella trailer below.

Tags: film

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