LENA WAITHE is playing Pixar’s first openly gay character, it has been revealed.
The actress and screenwriter plays a Officer Specter, a cyclops police officer, in Disney Pixar’s new animation film Onward.
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Onward follows two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if magic still exists.
The brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, are played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt.
Even though the film is not released until March, it’s already being praised for the way it has approached representation.
At one point in the film, Officer Specter says: “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”
Producer Kori Rae told Yahoo: “It just kind of happened.”
He added: “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”
Director Dan Scanlon told Yahoo: “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.”
The role is another history-making moment in Waithe’s career. In 2017, she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series.
While Waithe’s work has been widely praised and recognised, her debut feature film Queen and Slim was snubbed from major awards.
Its director, Melina Matsoukas, said in an interview with Variety that she wasn’t surprised by the lack of Golden Globe nominations.
She said: “We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended.
“For me, it’s reflective of their voting body. It’s not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today. They don’t value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers.”