Pixar has seen toys value friendships, emotions deal with emotions, and a fish preach ‘just keep swimming’ during tough times. Now, the animation company is taking another huge step towards an important topic: representation.
Pixar just made history by introducing its first lead gay character in the Disney+ short, ‘Out’. The film follows Greg, who is struggling to reveal his sexual orientation to his parents during moving day.
In the middle of the visit, he somehow switches bodies with his dog, Jim, just as he attempts to hide a picture of him and his boyfriend.
‘Out’ is part of Pixar’s Sparkshorts series, which aims to explore new storytellers and their styles. The series also featured ‘Float’, the first Pixar film to feature Filipino-American leads.
‘Out’ is written and directed by long-time Pixar collaborator Steven Hunter, who has worked on films such as ‘Finding Dory’ and ‘Toy Story 4’.
The character and story are loosely based on Hunter himself, minus the whole body-switch thing, of course. It took him years to open up to his parents, and he poured his experience into the project. He ended up crying while animating a scene featuring Greg and his boyfriend, as he realized it was a rare moment in the industry.
‘All this emotion came welling up because I realized I had been in animation for decades and I had never drawn that in my career. It just hit me.’ he said in an interview.
‘You can’t hide who you are for half of your life and then not carry that baggage around. You’ve got to process it somehow. I got lucky enough to process it in the making of this movie.’