Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Attitude by Victor Hensel-Coe/Disney
Cruella actor John McCrea has said his character Artie is "queer" in an interview with Attitude.
The rising star plays Cruella's fashion-obsessed friend Artie in the Emma Stone-starring 101 Dalmations origin story, in cinemas 28 May 2021.
John's comments follow Disney boss Bob Chapek confirming Disney's "increased commitment" to LGBTQ representation last year.
"In one of the original scripts, he was a drag queen"
John - who previously played Jamie in the Everybody's Talking About Jamie stage play - told us: "It depends on who you're asking I suppose - but for me, yes, it's official: he's queer.
"But we don't see him falling in love; there's no social aspect to the character. It's not beating you on the head with a stick. But his lifestyle is fabulous, he loves his life and it was so fun to play him."
Asked if the character was written as queer, John replied: "In one of the original scripts he was a drag queen, so I think he was always intended to be queer-representing I suppose, or somehow a member of the LGBTQ community. I imagine that was always the case."
Emma Stone as Cruella in the upcoming movie (Picture: Disney)
John - who is a gay man - said of the representation he's able to bring through Artie: "If I had a character growing up like that to watch on the screen I would've fallen in love. Also with the idea that he's completely well-adjusted, very happy, and has a real lust for life. Those are things I'd find so exciting.
"He lives by his own rules. A wonderful line he says is: 'normal is the harshest insult of all.' A wonderful mentality to have."
John's performance follows Disney's first "exclusively gay moment" via character LeFou in 2017's Beauty and the Beast, and news of straight actor Jack Whitehall's casting as a gay man in the upcoming Jungle Cruise, both of which were met with a mixed reception from LGBTQs.
Cruella is available in UK cinemas and on Disney+ Premiere Access from 28 May.
The Attitude July issue is out now.