‘Mundo Estranho’ shows a more inclusive Disney – Jornal do Oeste

A Polynesian princess in Moana (2016). A Southeast Asian heroine in Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). A multiracial Colombian family in Encanto (2021). The Disney Animation Studio has been taking stronger steps towards diversity, representation and inclusion in recent years. Mundo Estranho, directed by Don Hall, co-directed by Qui Nguyen, which has just premiered in Brazil, is yet another animation in that direction, featuring a multiracial family and, for the first time, an openly gay main character.

“We make films for all people across the globe,” said Hall in an interview with Estadão. “So we want them to resonate with everyone. Diversity and inclusion are absolute priorities, because we want our productions to reflect our world and be embraced by it”, added the director, who, in Big Hero Operation (2014), had already created a biracial protagonist, the teenager Hiro.

Regarding sexual orientation, Disney has been more cautious, drawing criticism from the community for announcing “its first LGBT+ character” time and time again, only to let them down when it comes to the mere mention or small gesture. But being gay is part of the identity of teenager Ethan (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White). He loses his way in front of his crush and is embarrassed when his father introduces himself to Diazo (Jonathan Melo).

“We love our characters, every one of them. We love Ethan. He is an impressive young man, a joy, full of compassion. Being gay is just part of who he is”, said producer Roy Conli to Estadão, when asked about people who criticize more inclusive narratives.

For actor Jaboukie Young-White, who is multiracial and identifies as queer, it was great to play a character who is not trying to be accepted for his sexuality or coming out of the closet. “Ethan is discovering who he is as a whole, in an environment that is ready to support him,” he said, in a videoconference press conference. Since this is a Disney film, at its center is a family. But their conflicts have nothing to do with Ethan being gay or not.

The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.

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