Disney Pixar has (finally) caught up to 2020, with the animation studio debuting a short film with its first-ever LGBTQI+ character in a central role.
Out is a nine-minute film that premiered as part of the Disney+ streaming service SparksShorts series which showcases animations by Pixar employees.
The film (watch the trailer below) centres around a man named Greg, who struggles with coming out to his parents as he prepares to move to the city with his boyfriend, Manuel.
“On an average day, Greg’s life is filled with family, love and a rambunctious little dog — but despite all of this, Greg has a secret. Today is different, though. With some help from his precocious pup and a little bit of magic, Greg might learn that he has nothing to hide,” the official synopsis reads.
Greg’s inner turmoil heightens when his parents — unaware of his relationship with a man — show up unannounced to help him pack.
Directed by Steven Clay Hunter, who previously worked on Finding Nemo and WALL-E, the short also features a same-sex kiss.
Greg may be the first “out” character to be central to a story, however, the movie studio actually debuted its first LGBTQI+ character when they released Onward.
Cyclops cop Officer Specter, voiced by openly gay actor Lena Waithe, was Disney and Pixar’s first self-identified LGBTQI+ character in its history, however, there have been other allusions made previously.
In the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake, LeFou (played by Josh Gad) made headlines when the studio portrayed him as gay with subtle nuance.
According to director Bill Condon in an interview with Altitude Magazine, the “gay moment” caused the film to get shelved in Kuwait and Malaysia and it was given a stricter rating in Russian theatres.
While it was considered a “first”, it was really a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the film’s final dance scene when the character dances with a man.
According to Pixar president Jim Morris, SparkShorts aims to “discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment with new production workflows.”
“These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare,” he said.
WATCH: The official trailer for Pixar short Out.