High School Musical Director Reveals Why Ryan Wasn't Openly Gay In Movies

1 July 2020, 08:11

Kenny Ortega reveals why Ryan wasn't openly gay in High School Musical
Kenny Ortega reveals why Ryan wasn't openly gay in High School Musical. Picture: Disney/Getty Images

Director Kenny Ortega has revealed why Sharpay's brother Ryan wasn't openly gay in Disney's High School Musical movies.

High School Musical director Kenny Ortega has explained why Ryan Evans wasn't openly gay in the movies.

Ryan, played by Lucas Grabeel, is one of the film's main characters and co-president of the Drama Club with his twin sister.

> Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda Wants Beyoncé To Star In His Next Musical

The filmmaker confirmed that the character was gay but explained why this wasn't shown in the Disney Channel series.

Speaking to Variety, Ortega said: "The character of Ryan in High School Musical, Sharpay’s twin brother, we decided he’d probably going to come out in college. It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colours come forward."

Ortega admitted that it probably wouldn't have been possible when the original High School Musical was released in 2006 to have had an openly gay character in the movies.

"I have to be honest with you. I didn’t think at the time [it would be possible] - 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. So, 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."

Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Zac Efron (a "High School Musical" reunion) pose backstage
Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Zac Efron (a "High School Musical" reunion) pose backstage. Picture: Getty

Ortega, who himself is openly gay, directed the whole High School Musical trilogy and Disney's Descendants movies.

The director discussed his career as he was named as an honouree in Variety’s Power of Pride list and suggested there was a queer aesthetic that runs through his work.

"Yeah, for sure. I do, because that’s who I am. 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," he said.

"And I think, yeah, that it’s just there, and whether it’s screaming at you, or whether it’s just sort of quietly there, it’s there."

> Download Our App For All The Latest Movie News