Kenny Ortega confirms High School Musical character is gay
Kenny Ortega didn't have an openly gay character in his 2006 movie 'High School Musical' because he worried that Disney would not approve.
The 70-year-old director had numerous hints that the character Ryan Evans - played by Lucas Grabeel - was homosexual but despite Disney being a "progressive" company he thought it was better to made coded references to Ryan's sexuality because the movie was being marketed at a family audience.
When asked if he thought it was possible to make Ryan openly gay, Kenny told Variety: "I have to be honest with you. I didn't think so at the time - and Disney is the most progressive group of people I've ever worked with.
"I was concerned because it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet."
Ortega was insistent on including hints that Ryan was a gay high school student and he had a plan for the character to come out in a future project.
He explained: "I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab. They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.
"We decided he'd probably come out in college. It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward."
Kenny is a gay man and agrees with the suggestion that there is a "queer aesthetic" running through his work.
The 'Hocus Pocus' director said: "I put a lot of who I am into my work. I mean, really all the way back from the earliest work that I've done, even as a choreographer in film and television.
"And I think, yeah, that it's just there, and whether its screaming at you, or whether it's just sort of quietly there, it's there."