Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho Explains Why Casting Gay Actors In LGBTQ+ Roles Was So Important To Hulu’s Crush

While we were all bored and forming a TikTok obsession during the 2020 trip, Auli’i Cravalho posted a video on the social media platform that nonchalantly informed us that she was bisexual. Almost two years later, the 21-year-old Moana the actress stars in the latest queer romantic comedy and coming of age movie, Crush, where two players from the high school athletics team form a sweet bond. And in a big win for representation, many of the actors and filmmakers involved in the Hulu film have personal experiences growing up and thriving in the LGBTQ+ community.

In Crush, Auli’i Cravalho stars as AJ, the co-captain of the Miller High School track team, who is responsible for training the team’s newcomer Paige, played by Rowan Blanchard, who is also identifies as queer. Cravalho shared his thoughts on starring in Crush:

I remember reading the script for the first time and saying, “It’s really adorable, and the humor is on-the-nose and a little edgy. And I also loved that while being a young teenage queer rom-com, it also didn’t focus on a coming out story, because I saw that… I learned from AJ , and I have to put myself in his place. But she’s also already gone out, she’s bi, that’s how it is.

So many LGBTQ+ movies and TV shows have relied heavily on the exit storyline, but Crush not only doesn’t repeat those cliches, but also features an established character in her bi identity. The actress thinks the fact that the film’s screenwriters Kirsten King and Casey Rackham and first-time director Sammi Cohen are also gay really helped. As Cravalho continued to IndieWire:

Suddenly it felt like, ‘Oh, that’s why the script is written so vibrantly.’ It’s because we’re portrayed behind the camera as well as in front of it, and I felt that while reading the script,” she said. “It makes or breaks the movie because … we’re putting an experience on screen that can’t be faked. That’s why it’s also important to have gay actors, because if this was our first time kissing girls on screen, it probably wouldn’t have worked. It would have been a completely different movie if one of us weren’t queer and hadn’t had the experience of kissing another girl before.

Recently we’re starting to see more representation like this in movies, like with the 2020s The happiest seasonwhich had writer/director Clea DuVall drawing on her own experiences to narrate the holiday comedy, which featured a predominantly queer cast including Kristen Stewart, Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza and Victor Garber. dead Poolis Karan Soni developing a gay rom-com with his real life partner so and Billy Eichner is making history with an all-LGBTQ+ cast in his next film.

Reflecting on his 2020 viral release on EO, Auli’i Cravalho thought “the funniest part” was that she had girlfriends in high school and didn’t necessarily think she was dating. The TikTok was a spontaneous 3 a.m. post, but it’s very possible that it paved the way for his role in Crush.

Prior to CrushAuli’i Cravalho shot to fame when she auditioned for Disney’s Moana and landed the voice role among hundreds of actresses. She has since played Ariel in ABC’s live production in 2019 of The little Mermaid, making her Disney Princess count to two. In 2020, she also starred in the music-themed coming-of-age film All together now for Netflix and Cravalho should star in a film version of spring awakening.

To verify Crush with Auli’i Cravalho, Rowan Blanchard, Isabella Ferreira, Megan Mullally and Michelle Buteau now with a Hulu Subscription.

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