Bryan Singer: Revisionist


I’m not particularly happy with Bryan Singer these days, though I’m not exactly sure why that is.

  • Could it be because he’s a decidedly-overrated director who gets far more press than more-deserving filmmakers like, say, Alex Proyas?
  • Could it be because his alleged Gaydar profile had that vaguely-unpleasant aroma of entitlement so common among a certain class of Hollywood fag?
  • Could it be his artistic decision to deny the existence of any post-Superman II movies in making Superman Returns, thus deleting my background-actor (and dancer!) existence in the first of the denied sequels?

The author in an awesome set-piece from Superman III. Click on the photo to find out which doofus is yours-truly!

  • …which was, it must be noted, excruciatingly awful (both my “dancing” and Superman III). I will say this in my defense, though: there was no music playing during the filming and we were playing hicks, after all. The jive-talking Richard Pryor atrocity, on the other hand, is completely indefensible.
  • Could it be the squicky, on-set (and completely unsubstantiated) rumours of sexual impropriety during the filming of The Usual Suspects?
  • Could it be his fervent denials that Superman — that icon of secret-identity-outsider-stranger-in-a-strange-land-and-therefore-also-a-metaphor-for-secret-sexuality — is gay? Hold on, Superman is not just not-gay, but “is probably the most heterosexual character in any movie I’ve ever made.”

Let’s meditate on that last one for a moment, shall we? An “openly”-gay director felt it was necessary to state that a character is not-gay? Not just “not-gay” but incredibly not-gay, as not-gay as it’s possible to be? That’s… a bit odd. And it smacks more of studio pressure-to-deny than valid commentary from an allegedly “out ‘n’ proud” gay “artist”. And also, how does merely being a homo and directing a Superman movie confer any authority to Singer on weighty matters of personal sexual orientation of a goddamned fictional character? That authority rests solely with the creator of that character and you, sir, are no Joe Shuster.

Besides, wouldn’t it be cooler, Clooney-cool, for example, (or, more timely, Depp-cool), to simply state that Superman is an allegory for a number of things? Or simply not comment at all?

Because, with that one statement, Mr. Singer, you’ve sullied some pretty significant personal backstory for many fans, revealed yourself to be more a tool of the greedy, studio hive-mind than a real film artist and reinforced the notion that “gay” is, somehow, a character flaw not to be associated with any hero, much less the stainless Man of Steel. Douchebag.

Like I needed another reason — other than the presence of Kevin “One-Note” Spacey in the cast, I mean — to avoid Superman Returns until it comes out on video. Fucking Kevin Spacey.

I acknowledge in advance the hypocrisy of me dissing Bryan Singer for perceived, money-grubbing, franchise-saving, traitory denials so shortly after railing privately to friends about the loathesome, uniformly unattractive, unclever, unstylish, apolitical, unfit, drunken Pride Weekend revellers who managed to poison every inch of Toronto’s downtown core with their tiresome, rainbow banality.

10 Responses to “Bryan Singer: Revisionist”

  1. 1 Chuck

    It was your railing that was tiresome, frankly. If moving house really was more fun than being festive, good for you, sweetie. I had a great weekend! 🙂 …well, apart from the gut-flushing bouts of diarrhea the night before I did the pride run…

    Excellent blog entry… i was also quite bugged by Singer’s interview clips and instantly thought of the studio too when i read that. What a fucking knob!

  2. 2 bstewart23

    That rainbow faux-hawk you were sporting all weekend was really cute, hon, so it’s no wonder you had a great time. I liked the last weekend in June so much better when it was in memory of the inyerface, take-no-shittery of Stonewall heroes and when it was our party, not some PR event put on by mousey assimilationists for the benefit of baby-toting suburbanites, tourist shutterbugs and corporate sponsors. But thanks for the gastro-intestinal tract update! You know I love a good poo story!

  3. 3 Theo

    You walk out of “Superman Returns” with whatever you walked in with.
    I have absolutely no doubt that you’ll see some self-righteous chucklehead on Fox News soon complaining about Lois Lane having a child out of wedlock.

    Me, I grew up reading comics, loving comics – and the new movie is unquestionably well done, so I walked out happy.
    And I’m as political as they come – but I was willing to set that aside for two hours and be a five-year-old kid again.

  4. 4 meg

    Oh, for Krypton’s sake. Superman is the most heterosexual character in any movie that Singer’s ever made? What about friggin’ Wolverine — you know, destructive, in possession of a hairtrigger temper, scruffy, not into sharing his feelings, limited to only one identity, in lust with a woman at first sight, eager to penetrate every enemy he comes into contact with (albeit just with his claws), blah blah blah? Guess the studio (and Hugh Jackman) didn’t freak out as much about the alleged heterosexuality of the X-Men.

    Now I REALLY hope that X3 ends up outgrossing SR. Whatever my issues with Brett Ratner, he didn’t go around blathering about what an extremely heterosexual movie he’d just directed. He just talked about how cool it was to see superpowered people blow things up. I already resented Singer for leaving the X-franchise high and dry (yes, I am a pathetic fangirl, thank you very much) and this isn’t helping. Gah.

  5. 5 bstewart23

    Theo: Given the flimsy rationale I’ve invented for seeing crap like War of the Worlds — second-worst film of 2005, by the way, after Bewitched (for which I also paid cash money) — in the cinema, your expectations (and payoff) were totally reasonable.

    meg: I was thinking “what about Wolverine?”, too, when Singer made that dumbass comment. But then I was thought about how Ratner managed, during the big X3 finale, to have Huge Ackman’s shirt but not his pants get torn off (by Dark Phoenix’s psychic blast) and any charitable feelings for him disappeared faster than the film’s sketchy continuity.

  6. 6 Terry

    I think the entire “Superman is so so so not-gay” stems from whomever started the press saying Superman was gay. I think that is also why Singer didn’t mention the hetero-ness of Wolverine et al. Had no one so much as whispered that Superman could be gay, or seen as a gay icon, Singer and the studio probably would have nver mentioned it.

    And… here’s where I get my ass kicked… Singer is gay? I knew my gaydar sucked, but damn. How did I miss that?

  7. 7 Binky

    Does anyone think Bret Ratner de-gayed the X-Men with number 3? The good guys kind of give in to using “the cure” for their “mutation” at the end – and using it on Mr McKellen of all people!

    Still, it was nice to see Iceman, after coming out to his parents in X2, having a good ol’ peeing contest with his flamey friend.

  8. 8 meg

    Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, it is possible that the “most heterosexual” comment came at the end of an interview in which the interviewer kept asking, in multiple ways, if Superman was really supposed to be gay. “So, Superman’s gay!” “Well, there are certainly aspects of his story that parallel that, but really, the character is straight. Cute, but straight. There’s that Lois Lane thing.” “I know he’s not technically gay, but isn’t he sort of gay?” “No.” “Oh, c’mon, he’s kinda gay.” “Well, he spends the movie pining over a woman, so…no.” “Look, you KNOW he’s gay.” “HE’S THE MOST HETEROSEXUAL CHARACTER I’VE EVER DIRECTED, DAMNIT. NEXT FUCKING QUESTION.” Probably not, but…never discount the importance of context where incindiary quotes are concerned.

    Binky, the very last second of the movie (if you don’t count the scene after the credits) seemed to indicate that the “cure” wasn’t all that final after all. I’m thinking of it as the metaphorical equivalent of conversion therapy. Plus, I think the whole “mutants equals gay” metaphor, while powerful and true, sorta breaks down with the “mutants using powers to gleefully kill people” part. Also, any movie that has Frasier Crane playing a beast is not rejecting the gay, IMHO.

    bstewart, I classify the shirt-but-not-pants thing as springing from the same motivation that led to dozens of people being blown apart bloodlessly in the movie — i.e. the desire to keep a PG, or at least a PG13, rating, in the hopes of making back the production costs. Even Dark Phoenix must bow to the overwhelming might of the MPAA. Call me cynical.

  9. 9 Luciferus

    Um, beloved Brett, I respectfully disagree with some of what you’ve said here. First of all, am I right in assuming that you haven’t seen Superman Returns yet? The whole story hinges on his being heterosexual because it’s about his relationship with Lois. I don’t have a problem with this, and yes, I am sure it is Singer’s homosexuality that is really at issue here. The X-Men movies are clearly queer metaphors, but SR is up to something else, and I thought it was kinda great.

  10. Busted! Luciferous, you are quite correct in assuming I’ve not yet seen SR (and prolly won’t until it comes out on DVD) but my bitch concerning Singer doesn’t involve what actually occurs in the movie — I know enough Latin I’ve seen enough Law ‘n’ Order to know that Res Ipsa Loguitur (“the object speaks for itself”) is at play here. That is, I’m sure that the film will do an adequate job of quashing “Superman is gay!” with no need for excessive, box-office-protectin’, desperate objections from the director (especially with the odd colouring the story got in the media; as if being an “openly”-gay director gave his proclamation of Superman’s nongayness greater gravitas than, say, some comic-store guy).

    Plus, I think the whole “mutants equals gay” metaphor, while powerful and true, sorta breaks down with the “mutants using powers to gleefully kill people” part.

    You and I clearly have different breeds of gay friends, meg. Heh.

    So, yeah, I’ll see it, eventually (and hopefully with a Singer commentary which at least pays lip service to the noncontroversy and in which he’s able to comment in a fashion and context he finds appropriate), and rest assured that the comments above will be bouncing around in my brain when I do.

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