High School Musical director Kenny Ortega on why Ryan wasn't openly gay

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Photo credit: Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock - Shutterstock

From Cosmopolitan

Director Kenny Ortega has revealed Ryan Evans was gay in the High School Musical franchise, while also commenting on why he wasn't openly out.

In a new interview with Variety, the director looked back on the mega successful movies 14 years after the first one was released, touching on how he hoped, while Ryan wasn't labelled as gay, those who needed to connect with his character still would.

"The character of Ryan in High School Musical, Sharpay’s twin brother, we decided he’d probably come out in college," Kenny commented. "It was less about coming out [in the film] and just more about letting his true colours come forward."

Photo credit: Michael Tran Archive - Getty Images

He continued of having an openly gay character, "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.

"[Those who needed to], they would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that is what happened," he added.

Photo credit: Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock - Shutterstock

Lucas Grabeel, who played Ryan Evans, previously opened up to TV Line about his character, agreeing that he is gay but offering a different reason as to why this isn't addressed in the film. "I’ve seen a lot of performances from the tours or high schools or community theatres, and they always take Ryan to that place of being way over the top," he noted.

"That’s fine, but that’s not exactly the way I played it. I had a lot of talks with [director Ortega] about his own experience in high school. He was not out, and he wasn’t running around being that way, but he had that energy inside of him."

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