The new Disney+ film Better Nate Than Ever is about a musical theater loving teen who is trying to live out his dream of someday being on Broadway.
Nate, the main character of the film — played by Rueby Wood — is also gay, and writer/director Tim Federle tells ABC Audio his hope is that it “causes discussion” and “bring some eyeballs to a movie that might not have light sabers or Marvel characters or Homer Simpson.”
What Better Nate Than Ever does have, says Federle, is Friends alum Lisa Kudrow “and a whole bunch of heart.”
What doesn’t show up in the film is any mention of the word “gay,” and it wasn’t overt for a reason.
Notes Federle, “I’m not sure how many things are overt when you’re 13. So when I was 13, I knew I was different, and I knew that I was probably trending toward identifying as gay. I certainly wasn’t ready to say the word out loud.”
“If it’s a word that some people are still afraid to say, then certainly when you were at your most vulnerable, which for many of us is when you’re in seventh grade, you’re going to be really careful with how far you put yourself out there,” he continues. “So I see Nate’s journey in the movie as taking a step toward who he will become.”
As for the film’s message, it’s pretty simple: “No matter what your dream is, chess player…an animator…president of United States — what you need more than anything is people around you who get you and encourage you to kind of step into your own light,” he explains. “And that, to me, is what this is really about.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
Better Nate Than Ever starts streaming today on Disney+.
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