Home / Entertainment / Drag Queens Inspired “Hocus Pocus”, according to director Kenny Ortega

Drag Queens Inspired “Hocus Pocus”, according to director Kenny Ortega



Kenny Ortega has created some of the most famous films that people know today. He directed films like Newsies, everyone High School Musical movies and Hocus Pocus, plus he choreographed Ferris bueller’s free day and Erotic dancing. Ortega also lent her brilliant choreography and vision to concert tours such as Hannah Montana and Michael Jackson’s. He has had a career of a career, and his sexuality has played a role in how he portrays his work.

Bette Midler dressed as Winifred Sanderson from 'Hocus Pocus' on the red carpet at Bette Midler's annual Hulaween Bash on October 28, 2016.
Bette Midler dressed as Winifred Sanderson from ‘Hocus Pocus’ on the red carpet at Bette Midler’s annual Hulaween Bash on October 28, 2016 | Rebecca Smeyne for the New York Times

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Kenny Ortega’s “Hocus Pocus” had very special witches: the Sanderson sisters

In a new interview with Variety, Ortega discussed his career as a “barrier-breaking LGBTQ filmmaker” and how that lens of his life shaped his work. When it came to the 1993 classic Hocus Pocus, he had a specific aesthetic in mind for the Sanderson sisters.

“Have fun Hocus Pocus is – I mean, the girls are almost drag women, “Ortega said. “I pushed them to go there and felt we had an audience if they did, and God knows we did. They are beloved characters and are constantly emulated. Every Halloween they knock on my door. These Sanderson sisters are back. “

The Sanderson sisters, along with Hocus Pocus, did not do well in the 90s, but today it is the People in Halloween movies can’t get enough. And when the witches get young again, their glam look is really hard to miss.

“There is only one spirit and one fun that is representative of my own spirit and fun that lives during some of my work,” Ortega continued. “And it does, I think, queer-friendly – if that’s a good way to put it. And I think there has been so much progress that you can actually say it now, and people will not be infected. Because it used to be people, they would be like ‘Oh no! What is he trying to do with this message to children? ”

‘High School Musical’ bore part of Ortega’s ‘queer aesthetic’ with Ryan

Going into another big success for Ortega’s, High School Musical also had some of their “queer aesthetic”, as Variety put it. Ortega said he “put a lot of who” he is into his work, and being an openly gay man adds to his overall messages, whether he is a director or a choreographer.

“It’s just there, and if it screams at you, or if it’s just quiet there, it’s there,” Ortega said.

This gives us his most recognizable gay character in High School Musical: Ryan Evans. Now “recognizably gay” as in stereotypical sense. But Ryan seemed to develop a bit of a crush on Gabriella and later on Kelsey. However, other fans want to point out the fact that Ryan and Chad changed clothes after their baseball game in HSM 2, suggesting that there may have been more romantic things behind the scenes. So his sexuality was always up in the air.

“The Character of Ryan i High School Musical“Sharpay’s twin brother, we decided he was probably going to college,” Ortega told Variety. “It was less about coming out and just more about letting his real colors come out.”

Although Ryan was queer-coded, Ortega did not feel like he could confirm outwardly the character’s sexuality

In addition to wanting Ryan to just be himself without noticing if he was gay or not, Ortega also said that it wasn’t really something he wanted to come to Disney or Disney Channel with.

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“I was worried it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet,” he said. “So I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt the viewers would grab. They would see it, they would know it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that’s what happened. “

Although Ryan is one of the only characters from High School Musical to really have that discourse surround him, the whole trilogy helped people to come to terms with their contested sexualities.

“I have to say thousands of kids who have said, ‘If it wasn’t for that High School Musical, I don’t know that I would have ever been comfortable in my skin. I don’t know when I could have felt comfortable enough to get out, embrace who I am, ”Ortega said.

Without Ortega, fans wouldn’t have the fantastic “I Put a Spell On You” moment Hocus Pocus nor the big dance numbers in High School Musical. And they certainly wouldn’t have “I’m not dancing.”

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