- “High School Musical” star Lucas Grabeel told Insider that his character Ryan had a crush on Zeke.
- Grabeel said that the nods to his crush on Zeke are “more overt” than speculation about Ryan and Chad.
- The actor said that many of Ryan’s “little looks and exchanges” got cut from the films, but a lot of them are still there.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It was athlete and baking extraordinaire Zeke Baylor.
“It’s funny that people talk more about [Ryan and Chad] that than they do about Ryan and Zeke, because it’s even more overt in my opinion,” Grabeel told Insider in a new interview for the 15th anniversary of “HSM.”
Grabeel was referring to the discourse online regarding Ryan and Chad’s chemistry in “I Don’t Dance” from “High School Musical 2” and their subsequent outfit swap, which fuelled speculation that the two characters had feelings for each other.
The actor said the musical number “wasn’t meant to be this homoerotic thing” and didn’t have “anything to do with us liking each other.”
Instead, Grabeel said there were more concrete nods to Ryan having a crush on Zeke, the jock who had an affinity for baking strudels, scones, and apple pandowdy (played by Chris Warren).
“Ryan had a very confusing crush on Zeke,” Grabeel said.
“The thing is about Ryan is that yeah, he was figuring it out and he didn’t know who he was, which is where most kids are in high school,” he continued, explaining that the character wasn’t meant to be “over-the-top flamboyant.”
“It needed to have subtlety,” he said.
Grabeel also said that because Disney “was not on board with having an out-of-the-closet character on a Disney Channel Original Movie,” he worked with director Kenny Ortega to include nuances.
Ryan and Zeke didn’t share many scenes together in the first film and the sequels released in 2007 and 2008, as the movies mainly showed the jock vying for the attention of Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), who said she’d rather “stick pins in my eyes” than watch him play basketball.
But most notably, they interacted just before “We’re All in This Together.” During the brief moment, Zeke complimented Sharpay and offered her cookies that he baked, which she scoffed at.
Ryan however, took the bag from Zeke and said, “Nice game,” before walking away.
Fans likely didn’t read too much into it because during the movie’s end-credits scene, Sharpay found Zeke in the gym and exclaimed, “These cookies are genius, the best things I’ve ever tasted,” and ran up to him asking if he could make more for her.
The second movie included small comments or moments involving Zeke and Sharpay.
The only significant moment Ryan and Zeke had was during “What Time Is It,” when Zeke asked Sharpay to sign his yearbook and Ryan looked at him and smiled â€” and even that was subtle and could be interpreted as Ryan just being polite.
Then the final film, released in 2008, Zeke appeared at various points during Ryan and Sharpay’s “I Want It All” fantasy sequence.
Most notably, the siblings walked into a room and were greeted by Zeke, who wore an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and handed them drinks in coconuts.
Then the trio did a mini conga line and Ryan was seen looking back in Zeke’s direction as he exited the room.
“Kenny and I were always looking for these moments to have these little looks and exchanges,” Grabeel said. “A lot of them got cut, but a lot of them are still in [there] of me wanting the creme brulee or the cookies or whatever Zeke was doing, or just looking at him with awe in the background.”
“I mean, he just thought he was the cat’s pajamas.”