The creator of Disney Plus’ Out says he wanted to make a film for his “17-year-old queer self”.
Out is a heartwarming Disney Pixar short that follows a queer man as he tries to work up the courage to open up to his parents when they come to visit.
The film, the studio’s first with an openly gay main character, was created by writer and director Steven Clay Hunter and producer Max Sachar. It premiered on the streaming platform Disney Plus on May 22.
Hunter said the reaction to Out was overwhelming for a film that lasts less than 10 minutes, but he told Entertainment Weekly: “It tells me we’re so hungry to see ourselves in stories — everybody, every walk of life.”
At the beginning of the film, a title card reads: “Based on a true story.”
Hunter explained: “It’s somewhat based on my coming-out story and yet it’s nothing like my coming-out story.
“I was trying to make a film for my 17-year-old queer self, the guy who needed to see something of himself in a film.”
Disney Out writer said he’d never drawn two men in love before.
The writer said he grew up near Ontario, Canada, in a small town where there was no representation of LGBT+ people.
“Everything about it was just, ‘wrong, wrong, wrong.’ Part of me just buried it,” he said.
“You want to just put it away and have it go away, but it doesn’t go away. It stays. It keeps getting louder and shouting at you to pay attention.”
He was moved to tears when he began drawing the storyboards for Out, and said: “I had never drawn that before in my entire career at Pixar. I’d never drawn two guys in love.”
The two dogs in the film Mags and Gigi, who guide protagonist Greg out of the closet, were even named after his brother’s pets.
Hunter is now helping to develop new projects for Disney Plus, and said he has the “itch” to tell more queer stories, and said he believes a feature-length animation with LGBT+ characters is “just around the corner”.
He added: “Just wait for it. It’s gonna happen. We’re not going anywhere.
“It’s not like suddenly every movie’s gonna be queer, but we are here and we are a part of the world and so we need to see ourselves in it.”