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MacGregor Houghton is the tritagonist of the Jungle Cruise. He is portrayed by Jack Whitehall.

History[]

Biography[]

Origins[]

MacGregor Houghton is the younger brother of Lily Houghton. The family lived in Kensington where MacGregor lived a posh and privileged life with a love for clothing and Queensberry Rules boxing. When MacGregor was seven, he lost two of his toes on an adventure with Lily. MacGregor was secretly gay with his family attempting to put him in arranged marriages on three occassions. On the third occasion, MacGregor came out and would have been dissowned by their uncle had it not been for Lily's support.

Jungle Cruise[]

In 1916, MacGregor attempted to arrange an expedition from the Royal Anthropological and Diverse Adventures Society in London to locate the mythical Tears of the Moon in the Amazon rainforest. This flower could supposedly heal any ailment and would require a sacred arrowhead to locate. The society rebuked this proposal resulting in Lily stealing the arrowhead.

The two proceeded to travel to Porto Velho in the Amazon to locate the Tears of the Moon. Here, MacGregor met with harbourmaster Nilo Nemolato to negotiate a river passage. However, Lily chose to instead recruit con-artist boatsman Frank Wolff to escort them down-river due to seeing him fight off a jaguar, unknowing that it was Wolff's trained jaguar, "Proxima". Leading up to the boat passage, Frank dumped many of MacGregor's clothing and belongings into the river while mocking him and comparing him to a woman.

Throughout the journey, MacGregor frequently whined and bickered about wanting to return to the town. Eventually, the party was captured by the Puka Michuna tribe who were working with Frank to try and acquire the arrowhead. The party was brought to their tree base in, "Headhunter Territory" where MacGregor befriended the locals. During his time amongst the Puka Michuna, MacGregor tought some of them how to use golf-clubs but also got half his face stained in red tattoo-ink.

They were again attacked by cursed conquistadors working for Lope de Aguirre, enlisted by their enemies in the German Empire. Following this, the Puka Michuna chieftain, "Trader Sam" returned MacGregor to the town in a canoe. Before they could return to port, the two were attacked by the submarine of German Prince Joachim of Prussia. Sam abandonned MacGregor while Joachim threatened MacGregor into revealing the Tears of the Moon's location by threatening to slaughter the Puka Michuna peoples.

The Germans brought MacGregor to the tree's temple where a fight ensued from which the Houghtons and Wolff emerged the victors.

Later life[]

The Houghtons were considered sensations when returning to England. The Royal Anthropological and Diverse Adventures Society attempted to enlist the two, only for MacGregor to turn them down and demean them at a lecture instead.

Development history[]

Controversy & Homophobia[]

Following the film's release, the film was frequently criticized for using homophobic stereotyping in MacGregor's character. MacGregor is portrayed as being an effeminate, cowardly and posh man with a love for clothes compared to that of a woman's, these generally being traits written in mockery of queer men. MacGregor also functions in an archetype similar to the, "Gay Best Friend" trope through his relationship with Lily. While in the second half of the film he is shown more competently, he also has his stereotyped characteriztics consistently played up for camp comedy by his cisgender heterosexual actor, Jack Whitehall.

Leading up to the release of the Jungle Cruise, the Sun reported that Whitehall’s character would be gay. Due to this, MacGregor's character has become an extension of the, "Disney's first openly gay character" meme in online-media, a running gag referencing how Disney’s LGBTQ+ characters (usually white cisgender-men) are touted by the media as being their "First openly gay character" only to have their identity referenced briefly in passing. Houghton shares this trait with Specter from Onward, Bobby from Avengers: Endgame, LeFou from the remake of Beauty and the Beast, and Artie in Cruella.[1]

Appearances[]

Jungle Cruise[]

MacGregor is a prominent supporting character in this film.

Trivia[]

  • The Jungle Cruise has been criticized for hiring a cisgender-heterosexual actor to play this role. A critique made due to how frequently queer performers are already less likely to receive major roles in film, being amplified by their roles being given to non queer performers and Disney excluding said performers in a character marketed as an act of solidarity with their community.[2]
    • Disney has repeatedly cast queer actors in their movies before, including Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Whishaw, Billy Eichner, Lena Waithe, John McCrea, Jack Dylan Grazer, Auli'i Cravalho, Glenn Shadix, Jane Lynch, and Nathan Lane, albeit not consistently in openly queer roles nor does it necessarily condone putting a non-marginalized actor within their marginalized roles.
  • MaGregor might be inspired by Samuel Sayer, the brother of Rose Sayer from The African Queen (1951) who partially inspired Lily. The two characters are shown dressed in all white suits.

Gallery[]

References[]

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