From superheroes to Biblical figures, secret gay subplots are in tons of movies. Here are our favorites.
For years, people have been talking about the homoerotic images and storylines in this classic film starring Tom Cruise. Take another look at the volleyball scene and we think you’ll know what we’re talking about. If you need more convincing, let Quentin Tarantino explain it to you.
It’s long been known that the word “mutant” in the X-Men films stands for “gay.” The films’ director, Bryan Singer, is an openly gay filmmaker and has cast some famously gay actors in lead roles. Sir Ian McKellen, who played the older Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past, said, “As a gay man, some people think that it ought to be cured and made normal again, and I find it as offensive as someone saying that they have a cure for the color of their skin. This particular story was close to my heart; it has an important message to young people who may for one reason or another be disaffected with society because society points at their differences and says that they’re inferior to the rest of us.”
The characters Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Becca (Anna Kendrick), affectionately known as “Bechloe” to ‘shippers, point to a shower scene with intense chemistry as the start of the secret lesbian love affair. But the girl-on-girl romance wasn’t necessarily written into the script, said Snow, “We never set out to make her anything… It was never supposed be bisexual or lesbian. I think she was one of those girls who love everyone — but people can take that however they want it.”
‘Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy’s Revenge
This film is considered the gayest horror movie of all time. While most horror films are morality tales about teenage sexual promiscuity, this film goes one step further, punishing the character Jesse (Mark Patton), for his sexual turmoil over being gay. Check out this scene from the film in which Jesse spoofs Tom Cruise’s dance scene in Risky Business. Patton claims all the action in the scene was written in the script, “If you look in the script, it says, ‘Jesse bumps his ass against the door three times, and gets on the bed and pretends to masturbate.’ It’s all written in the script. I didn’t make that stuff up.”
If you’ve ever studied ancient Greek history, you know that two men having sex wasn’t condemned or avoided — it was embraced, especially on the battlefield. But when you take a look at the costumes in this film, you don’t see warriors in protective battle armor, you see oiled-up men with rock-hard muscles wearing not much more than leather Speedos. This would have been a very bad idea if you wanted to survive the Battle at Thermopylae, but makes for a great homoerotic film. And all those close-ups of the soldiers stroking their swords, well…
‘Rebel Without a Cause’
From 1955, the gay subtext was kept pretty much on the down-low, but actor James Dean, who played Jim, was known to be bisexual and actor Sal Mineo, who played Plato (continuing with the ancient Greek theme), was known to be gay. Sam Kashner wrote in Vanity Fair about the film, saying, “Sal Mineo — so affecting as the essentially fatherless outcast Plato — later commented that he had portrayed the first gay teenager on film. There are little clues: the photograph of Alan Ladd taped to his locker door, his longing looks at Jim Stark, his disguised declaration of love in the abandoned mansion. Ray was aware of Dean’s bisexuality and encouraged the actor to use it in certain scenes. Dean instructed Mineo, ‘Look at me the way I look at Natalie,’ for their intimate scene in the Getty mansion. It had to be subtle. A Production Code officer had written in a memo to Jack L. Warner on March 22, ‘It is of course vital that there be no inference of a questionable or homosexual relationship between Plato and Jim.'”
In the award-winning film from 1959 starring Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, writer Gore Vidal was brought in to rewrite the script and add the subtext of a past romantic relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala. “Over the years, I have told the story of how, faced with a hopeless script for Ben-Hur, I persuaded the producer, Sam Zimbalist (this was an MGM film and the writer worked not with the director but the producer; later the director, in this case William Wyler, weighed in) that the only way one could justify several hours of hatred between two lads — and all those horses — was to establish, without saying so in words, an affair between them as boys; then, when reunited at picture’s start, the Roman, played by Stephen Boyd, wants to pick up where they left off and the Jew, Heston, spurns him.” The latest remake starring Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell, doesn’t include any reference to a gay romance.
Though the film was marketed to male fans of wrestling and MMA fighting, the film didn’t score well at the box office, likely because it was too homoerotic for these types of ‘roid-ragers. There are suggestions in the dialogue that make Tyler (Brad Pitt), seem like he’s more focused on the men in his life for a number of reasons. Tyler says, “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.”
When this film from 1960 was released, they cut a bath scene where the Roman general, Crassus (Laurence Olivier), attempts to seduce his slave Antoninus (Tony Curtis), telling him he likes to eat both oysters and snails, suggesting he likes both women and men. The film was later restored (two years after Olivier’s death), and the dialogue from the scene was missing. Curtis was able to rerecord his part, but Crassus’ voice was done by Anthony Hopkins.
‘Interview with the Vampire’
In the Twilight films, getting bitten by a vampire is a metaphor for sex — there’s penetration, exchange of bodily fluids and at least one person involved gets pleasure. When you put two male vampires together, like Lestat and Louis in Interview, played by two of the most gorgeous men around — Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt — the homoeroticism oozes off the screen. Back in 1994, the late Roger Ebert said in his review, “The initial meeting between Louis and Lestat takes the form of a seduction; the vampire seems to be courting the younger man, and there is a strong element of homoeroticism in the way the neck is bared and the blood is engorged. Parallels between vampirism and sex, both gay and straight, are always there in all of Rice’s novels; the good news is that you can indulge your lusts night after night, but the bad news is that if you stop, you die.”
‘The Lost Boys’
The Lost Boys, another film about vampires, features a group of leather-clad young men who exist on the fringes of society. But if you look closely at the small details in the film, you’ll begin to notice a lot of gay imagery. From Wham!-style headbands to a bare-chested, oiled up saxophonist performing on the boardwalk to a sexy poster of Rob Lowe in Sam’s room, the clues are all there.
‘Bend It Like Beckham’
It’s long been rumored that in the original script, Jess (Parminder Nagra) and Jules (Keira Knightley) end up in a romantic relationship together, but that the director changed the ending, worried how the film would play in sexually conservative India. Both the lead female characters have intense chemistry together, hold hands and even kiss, so maybe the lesbian innuendo still exists despite the “straight” ending.
‘Batman & Robin’
Though you’d be hard-pressed to find any specific evidence that Batman and Robin are gay, people have been interpreting them as gay ever since they shared a bed in one of the early comic books. Hardcore defenders of the duo insist that people are simply reading more into the relationship than is actually there, but all the fetish clothing, capes and nippled chest armor really add to the homoerotic dogma.
On the surface, this film may seem like a story about a kid who gets bullied because he’s different, but it’s actually a film about the negative impact of intolerance. Writer and co-director Chris Butler had a specific agenda with the jock character, Mitch (Casey Affleck), who makes reference to his boyfriend at the end of the movie. In an interview, Butler said, “You think you know that a zombie is going to want to eat your brain, you think that this dumb jock is straight. Actually, you don’t know everything just by looking at them. That was important to me.”
The Twitter campaign, #GiveElsaAGirlfriend urged Disney to allow Elsa to come out of the closet and allow her to be openly lesbian in the sequel. Disney is unlikely to comply with LGBT fans any time soon, but there is something different about Elsa that makes her unlike most Disney princesses. Whether she’s a lesbian or not, her song “Let It Go” has become a bona fide gay anthem.
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