Jack Whitehall shares Clifford the Big Red Dog trailer with his little red dog
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Jack Whitehall’s career has skyrocketed over the last couple of years, having recently starred alongside the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the blockbuster flick Jungle Cruise.
The movie went on to gross an impressive 166 million worldwide, with the 33-year-old set to star in three new projects next year, including Silent Retreat, Robots and Mouse Guard.
I feel like I’ve definitely said jokes in the past that would be worthy of cancellation
The Travels with My Father has taken Hollywood by storm — but there appears to be some concern that the jokes he made in his early career could subsequently land him in hot water with cancel culture.
In an interview with The Sun, he explained: “I feel like I’ve definitely said jokes in the past that would be worthy of cancellation. I guess it’s how you weather that storm if it does ever come up.”
“I’ve had it, sort of, occur a few times and I think, maybe, people are a little better now.
Jack added: “We’ve had a few of these ridiculous cancellations of people because of historic jokes that — especially with a comedian because it was told in jest and the context of it was only ever intended as a joke — that you do tend to get away with it a little bit more.”
Fans will recall how Jack had found himself in hot water for a string of jokes he’d made about Little Mix’s performance at the 2019 Brit Awards.
Jack, who was hosting the event that year, told the crowd: “Dads up and down the country awkwardly fumbling for a scatter cushion right now.”
More than 25 people were said to have complained to Ofcom about the joke.
There had also been backlash in 2018, when Jack signed on for Jungle Cruise, playing the first openly gay Disney character MacGregor Houghton in Jungle Cruise.
“I auditioned for the movie and it was always an American part, but I think they had intended for it to be an American actor, originally,” Jack told Metro.
“Then I auditioned for it and got the role.”
He added: “I then subsequently realised that they were going to surround me with a load of English actors which was quite confusing.
“Because I’d had to do these scenes where I was trying to do an American accent and everyone else was speaking in an English accent around me, and trying to steer me off course.”
Clifford the Big Red Dog is in cinemas nows.
MacGregor is described as “hugely effete, very camp and very funny”.
Speaking about Disney’s decision to hire Jack for the role, @212vanfersen said on Twitter: “Really @Disney #JungleCruise ? Your first significant gay role will be played by a straight white man perpetuating stereotypes? Fail! This ship should sink.”
Openly gay actor Stephen Fry came to Jack’s defence amid the initial backlash, insisting: “I share your shame @jackwhitehall – I played a straight man more than once. A FATHER even. I should have been sent for training, correction and adjustment years ago.”
Despite his success on the big screen, Jack — who last fronted a comedy tour in 2019 — is hopeful of returning to stand-up in the near future — as soon as his hectic work schedule clears up a little.
He stressed the importance of being able to step away from the stage for a few years to experience life and return “when I’ve got more stuff to talk about”.
“I need to try and find something else that’s going to be interesting and different and a subject matter I can write something and it will feel funny and fresh.”
Jack stars as Casey in the newly-released family film Clifford the Big Red Dog, alongside Darby Camp and John Clease.
But getting in character for the part was no easy feat as the Londoner plays an American with an English sister living in New York, meaning he had to learn an American accent to land the part.
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