'Andi Mack' star Luke Mullen gets teary-eyed when he hears fans relate to his character in the Disney Show
One word that Luke Mullen stressed on when asked about being a part of 'Andi Mack', the first Disney show to star an openly gay character, was 'Honor'. He recalled his journey while talking about the show on the sidelines of the recently concluded 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards that recognizes and honors the media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Mullen felt that him being a part of the show was the most empowering thing he had done in his life and it makes him teary when he hears people saying that they could relate to his character and the show.
"It's one of the most amazing things I could be doing right now. Honestly, you couldn't wish for a better show to be on. It's an honor."
'Andi Mack' is a coming-of-age story about a young girl Andi (Peyton Lee Elizabeth), who is trying to figure out where she fits, until a shocking family secret lands a telling impact and puts her on a journey of self-discovery.
Mullen plays the recurring character, TJ Kippen, who at the start of the season comes across as a sarcastic and an over-competitive star athlete at Jefferson Middle School. He is the captain of the basketball team and takes an instant dislike to Buffy (one of the lead character's close friends). Despite coming across as a confident personality, TJ suffers from insecurities and self-destructive tendencies. This is in addition to Dyscalculia, a math-learning disability.
As time goes by, TJ is shown to change as a person with the help of Cyrus (Joshua Rush, the first gay main character), who also helps him with his personal issues. By the end of the second season, TJ is now seen as a person who is friendly and breaks the ice with Buffy.
"It is an honor to be a part of this incredible, inclusive show. To be able to portray a real character in daily life events, and see people reciprocate from the other end, coming up to us and saying how these storylines have touched them is the most humbling thing I have ever heard," Mullen said.
Mullen went on to add that the cast reaction was more "accepting" and "welcoming" when they found that Disney had roped in Cyrus as part of the show.
"One thing that stood out was that this show encouraged the younger generation to be okay with who you are." Previously, Lilian Bowden, who plays the central character Andi's mother, too echoed Mullen's sentiments about the younger generation needing the reassurance to be comfortable in their own skin.
The show's fan base too reached out to Mullen and the other characters in the story praising the progressive storyline. "People did reach out to us... speaking about how they were able to relate to the characters in the show, and that makes me feel really glad to be a part of this experience."
"It is the end goal and what we all want as actors to listen to. When people say that they relate to our characters on this show. It makes you feel teary," he added.
For Mullen, who has already made waves with his directorial venture in the 2018 short film 'Me, My Phone & I', an adventure film where four high school friends get trapped inside their phones and eventually use their wits and tech skills to figure their out, 'Andi Mack' is his second outing where he has managed to cement his place as one of the key characters.