Coining the right headline for this story was near-impossible, and I think I failed. I don’t to push it as news that one of the characters in Independence Day 2 will be gay. Rather, I want to suggest some of the questions this might prompt about typical representations in Hollywood tentpoles, and this movie in particular.
I’ve been sparked on by an interview Emmerich has given to The Huffington Post.
Here’s the bit in which he discusses LGBT issues, and tells us to expect a gay character.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a realistically proportionate amount of gay characters in mainstream movies, much less lead characters. One gay character in one movie doesn’t represent the turning of a tide, but it’s still something to take note of when the film is this kind of straight-down-the-middle blockbuster-wannabes.Of course, there’s going to be dozens of speaking parts in Independence Day 2.
To single out one as gay skews he ratio far, far away from life. Maybe lots of them could be gay but we only find out about one, Mr. Emmerich?
I do wonder what kind of character Emmerich is talking about, and what role they will play in the narrative. I can only just imagine it will be the lead hero or heroine, stepping into the space left by Will Smith.
Emmerich has the possibility here to create an unusual – and for some, I suppose, challenging – representation. He also has the opportunity to show a gay character whose sexuality is incidental to the alien invasion that’s going on, not to mention many other aspects of their life. There is a lot of potential in whatever Emmerich he might be able to make of this decision.
And it’s good, I think, that this plan is something the director has already mentioned in an interview. Now, if any sort of studio notes try to whittle this character’s sexual orientation away, maybe the producers will think twice. There’s going to be a lot of people who will remember these comments.
And those, like me, that will issue some reminders, if it comes to it.