This summer Pride at the Pictures showcased and screened an array of LGBT film across Merseyside. As a result we took our finger off the pulsating world of social media and we’re just about catching up.
Earlier today, I came across a Guardian article, dated 19th August, reporting Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li’s characters in Expendables 3 are in a same-sex relationship.
When asked about whether the characters are in a relationship director, Patrick Hughes confirmed the rumour, with a resounding, “I believe they are.”
Now, back in 2005 the then Transporter director, Louis Leterrier claimed that Jason Statham’s character, Frank Martin, was gay. “It’s so great — the first gay action movie hero!”
Three years later, rather unfortunately, Frank Martin was put back into the closet in Transporter 3. Confused? So is Frank. When asked if he was disappointed in Transporter 3 director Oliver Megaton deciding to turn Frank straight, Leterrier seemed to dispute the gay themes (he encouraged) in Transporter 1 & 2. “They aren’t that gay”, remarked Leterrier.
So, are Schwarzenegger and Li’s characters the first gay action movie heroes?
According to the Guardian “homosexual characters have started to appear more regularly in Hollywood film”, with the ‘outing’ of Gobbler (pun intended?) in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Dumbledore in Harry Potter. However, LGBT characters can’t be appearing more, if they don’t appear at all.
It’s not acceptable to ‘out’ a character after a films release if there is no mention of the characters sexuality in the films plot. Perhaps, it’s an attempt to increase audiences, specifically amongst LGBT people, as the initial buzz dies. It’s a tokenistic, marketing gimmick that is robbing LGBT people of well-developed characters and real representations of sexuality on screen.
One wonders when Hollywood will really allow LGBT characters, whether they’re action heroes, Vikings or wizards to appear in mainstream film.