PRIDE Month is here and Disney’s latest Villain Origin Film, Cruella, brings us a new, fun, and exciting LGBTQ+ character with Artie (John McCrea) – A David Bowie-esque vintage shop owner who helps Estella on her way to becoming the iconic villainess, Cruella. Obviously, Artie is not Disney’s first-ever queer Disney character. However, the company is famously known for its queer coding of characters like Oaken (Frozen), Le Fou (Beauty & the Beast), Grimsby (The Little Mermaid), Wiggins (Pocahontas), and Li-Shang (Mulan) to name a few. When it comes to Artie, queer coding is no longer “needed” and we have a very proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

We had the chance to sit down with John McCrea, the genius actor behind the role of Artie, to discuss his iconic queer character, what PRIDE means to him, and what album he’s currently obsessed with and playing on repeat. 

Finding The Role From An Unlikely Source

Typically, when an Actor learns they have booked a role the deal-making goes through many channels, eventually ending with their Agent/Manager who calls them up breaking the exciting news. However, when John learned about booking the role of Artie, he exclusively shared with me the story about how he didn’t find out through his Manager or Agent, but accidentally through the Makeup Designer.

“I haven’t told this story before. I actually found out I got the role before I got the role through the makeup designer. Because she got my headshot and she was like ‘Oh, you’re doing Cruella’ and I said, ‘AM I?!’ And I hadn’t officially found out”

When asking John if he had any idea that his character, Artie, would possibly become an icon in the queer community he was very humble and charmingly oblivious saying,

“No, I didn’t. I really didn’t, I didn’t think about stuff like that cause I’m just me and I just live my life…I didn’t have a birds-eye view of myself like that, but what a wonderful thing to take from the job…I’m glad I didn’t have the perspective at the time cause I think it probably would have been too much to handle, but I guess it is and I’m happy to take that back on.”

What does PRIDE mean to John McCrea?

Cruella dropping in theaters and on Disney Premiere+ on May 28th is right on the cusp of PRIDE month making it absolutely perfect when it comes to celebrating a fantastic LGBTQ+ character like Artie. When asking John what PRIDE meant to him, he had this to say,

“PRIDE is such a wonderful thing and you shouldn’t forget the real reason it came about – it’s the fight for equality and not just a reason to get drunk…I do think that PRIDE should be every day, every single day. And remembering people like Marsha P. Johnson and the people that really started a movement – especially trans people of color. That’s a huge part of it for me.”

The Cruella Soundtrack is FIRE, but what is John listening to?

Now, Cruella has a phenomenal soundtrack and no interview with a cast member would be complete if we didn’t ask them what they’re obsessively listening to at home. Don’t worry, friends. John is just as obsessed with Olivia Rodrigo as the rest of us.

“I know I’m not supposed to be…I’m supposed to be, like, near my 30s and like growing up, but I’m so down for Olivia Rodrigo, man. I think she’s just cracking! And she reminds me of my youth so much that I’ve been listening to her just thinking, ‘I know I’m too old for this, but I don’t care. I don’t care!”

Make sure you run, don’t walk to see Disney’s Cruella in theaters on Disney Premier+. You won’t regret it.

For more on Cruella or Disney, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.