We may get shows like The L Word and love out actors like Neil Patrick Harris, but we can't seem to rid the homophobia from Hollywood's marketing system, let alone politics. Sure, there's always been a disconnect, where trailers and box covers make bad films look good and good films look like utter crap, but the marketing disconnect is absolutely rampant when it comes to gay themes, and it looks like there's no slowing of this absolutely ridiculous trend.
CNN's The Frisky looked into the marketing habit of de-gaying this week, pointing out the ridiculous omissions in both Valentine's Day and A Single Man's marketing ventures, where gay themes are completely bled out of the film. For the former, you might notice that Eric Dane -- otherwise known as McSteamy -- is part of the cast, but we don't see much of him. His face isn't on the poster*, and none of his scenes get highlighted in the trailer. Why? Turns out he plays Bradley Cooper's closeted, football-playing boyfriend in the film.
Boyfriend? But what about the trailer?
Isn't Cooper romancing Julia Roberts? That's what the trailer would like you to think, as Roberts jokes with the actor, a stewardess hits on him, and later, she gives him a quick kiss. But now we know why she's laughing at Cooper's ability to attract women -- it's not because it's funny how many women he attracts, but because he's gay! Eric Dane, well, he just gets a brief image of him, by himself, with no homosexual actions to condemn the film to gayness. As the second trailer states just as Cooper looks into Roberts' eyes, "There's always a chance for romance!" Maybe the sequel will have Cooper heading to a de-gaying facility.
Likewise, there's A Single Man. The film that has Colin Firth and Julianne Moore on the poster, and the two of them all over a trailer.
This one isn't quite so bad, as it hints heavily at something under the surface. But still, this isn't a movie that hints at anything -- it's a film about a "single man" trying to deal with the death of his lover -- one who isn't Moore, but rather Matthew Goode. The trailer would have you think that it's the story of the man stolen away from his woman by sexy young men. There is a previous hetero relationship between the two, but not in the way the trailer would have you think.
What really eats at me with this trend is: What about once the butts are in the seats? Obviously, marketers are trying not to alienate homophobic audience members and get as many people as they can into the theater. But what happens when those same people see all the gay themes? At least it's one part of the greater whole in Valentine's Day, so maybe the homophobic folks can just shut their eyes during Cooper and Dane's scenes.
But let's take another film, one that ticks me off every time I look at the cover: Saving Face. The trailer did nicely -- making the lesbian relationship front and center. But the DVD case? Egads. The film focuses on a lesbian doctor who finds love, while her mother has a secret affair that gets her pregnant and shunned. The DVD cover shows mother and daughter, and on the back, the banished mother side story is front and center. Unless you read carefully through to the end, you'd never know that the daughter has a female lover. But the cover would have you believe that's just a side story -- it's all about mom trying to find an eligible bachelor.
I guess the anti-gay moviegoers aren't angered enough to demand a refund when the gay sneaks in, and the cycle sadly continues. Maybe instead of 3D glasses, Hollywood should put out gay glasses, so anyone who isn't scared of those themes can put them on and magically see all the plot points the marketers don't want to share.
*There is the teeniest little hint on the other poster, which puts pictures of Cooper and Dane side by side.
Valentine's Day looks stupid to me anyway, but IA about A Single Man--it's wonderful, and it's not all about him being gay, it's just a love story. But it's still obnoxious the way they said they don't want to "alienate viewers" or whatever. (Women who want to see McSteamy and Will Tippin make out; raise your hand.)