Cheaper by the Dozen Director Reveals the Story of the Release That Was Cut from the Film

The Disney+ point of view Cheaper by the dozenone of this year new movie releases, sought to change centuries-old history in several key ways. One of her goals was to inject some diversity into the proceedings, which the lead actress Gabrielle Union was looking forward to doing after not seeing much in family movies growing up. And the kid-friendly movie did a great job on that front, portraying the Baker clan as a multicultural, blended family. But it turns out the film was planning to include another layer of representation through an exit script that was ultimately cut.

The film features a plethora of stories, from the obstacles of Zoey and Paul as a couple to rising basketball star Deja trying to find his place in a new environment. Of course, there is also the first DJ experience with a crush. When I recently spoke with Cheaper by the dozen however, director Gail Lerner explained that fellow Baker Harley needed to come out with her sexuality to her family. The filmmaker also explained why the arc was cut from the finished film:

We had a storyline where the Harley girl had a coming out story, and that was a story that I absolutely loved. And what happened was that there were so many B-stories running through the whole movie that we just thought we had to lose something. And we literally just watched and saw what scenes were able to come out, and this story stood up so cleanly that it just told us that the other stories are more essential to telling the story of the family. Like, obviously, Deja’s story couldn’t go anywhere. His misfortune and his truth is what leads to the big reveal that this is not the right life for them. You know, DJ’s story about his father was a very important line between father and son. The bullying story completely told the story of how Haresh bonds with his cousin. And it’s just one of those things where the actress, Caylee [Blosenski], did an amazing job. It was a great story that we were all eager to tell. But it’s still clear that the easiest thing to live with is the piece that needs to go. So I was disappointed with that. Everyone was really excited.

Caylee Blosenski in Cheaper by the Dozen

(Image credit: Disney+)

Such an arc would have been nice to see in the movie but, as the filmmaker mentioned, it was hard to keep the script together with so much else going on in the movie. The director then shed some more light on how Harley’s announcement would have been handled:

It was a very natural coming out story. It wasn’t like, ‘This is a scandal our family is against’ at all. It was truly a story of love and acceptance. So I was really sad to lose him. But it was just one of those things where we couldn’t have a two hour movie.

LGBTQ+ representation in film and television has steadily increased over the past few years. Disney is one of the entertainment entities that seeks to better represent the experiences of community members. For example, the recently released film Better Nate than ever do this, without censoring all the crucial moments. These kinds of positive portrayals have become increasingly valuable to creatives, especially amid the ongoing “Don’t Say Gay” controversy.

While some may be disappointed that Harley’s story didn’t make it into the movie, it could still see the light of day at some point. Gail Lerner and Disney could choose to go out a “Snyder Cut” of Cheaper by the dozen one day. Of course, it’s long but not totally impossible, right?

If you haven’t already done so, you can flux Cheaper by the dozen (opens in a new tab) with a Disney+ subscription.

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