In a new interview with Variety last week about the queer aesthetic of his movies, director Kenny Ortega confirmed that the character of Ryan played by Lucas Grabeel in his 2006 Disney Channel movie High School Musical was gay — and closeted.
Grabeel spoke with TMZ and said he would want a gay actor to play the role if the movie were made today.
“There are so many amazingly talented gay actors that could do it as well so if High School Musical was made today I don’t know if I would play Ryan. … The last thing that I want to do is take an opportunity away from other people. As a straight white man I know that even without trying I’ve taken opportunities away from people.”
Grabeel said he spoke to Ortega during the movie’s filming because he assumed the character was gay and Ortega agreed that he was but Disney wasn’t ready for it.