Jack Whitehall

Jack Whitehall

Date of birth: 07-07-1988
Placed second in the Laughing Horse new act competition 2007 and finalist in the So You Think You're Funny? new act competition the same year. Nominated for best newcomer in the 2008 Chortle awards, and for best newcomer at the 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
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Disney blasted over Jack Whitehall casting

'Gay characters should be played by gay actors'

Jack Whitehall is at the centre of a casting row after landing the role as Disney's first major gay character.

The comedian is to get a major break by starring in Jungle Cruise alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt, and this week it was reported that his role would be 'hugely effete, very camp and very funny'.

However, critics blasted Disney for not casting a gay actor in the role – as well as attacking the character as a stereotypical portrayal.

But it will be a while until anyone knows for sure, as the film, based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name, is not due to be released until October next year.

Actors were quick to criticise the casting decision on Twitter, including Gabe Friedman, who called for a boycott.

He said: ‘This is a poor choice, @Disney. @jackwhitehall should have said no to this role. I’m so tired of the lack of LGBTQ+ representation on screen. I will not be seeing this film in theatres and will urge all of my friends not to support it either.’

Omar Sharif Jr tweeted: ‘Really @Disney #JungleCruise? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink. 

‘For the record, I think Jack Whitehall will do a terrific job...MY POINT: For a global company that speaks primarily to youth, Disney had an opportunity to give queer kids an authentic reflection of themselves to see on TV and role model to look up to in real life.

Others have argued that the whole point of acting is to portray different people.

Even Stephen Fry joined in, tweeting: ‘I share your shame @jackwhitehall – I played a straight man more than once. A FATHER even. I should have been sent for training, correction and adjustment years ago.’

And actor Andrew Hayden-Smith tweeted: ‘I don’t care if Jack Whitehall is playing a gay character. Just like I didn’t care that Heath Ledger or Robin Williams played gay characters. They gave great performances. If he does a good job then fair play to him. It’s ACTING after all. YES to @Disney though. About time ‘

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Published: 14 Aug 2018

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