Kevin Smith discusses the gay Man of Steel

Oct. 31, 2008 | 1:46 p.m.

Brandon_routh_in_zack_and_miri_3

Yesterday we had a link to Chris Lee’s great (and unflinching) feature on Kevin Smith, who may have his most commercial film of his career in theaters today but is also grappling with a weight-related heath crisis. That story ran on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section; today Lee went through his notebook and pulled out some more material from the interview that will be especially interesting to the fanboy crowd. 

Kevin Smith does not feel one iota of guilt about making Superman gay. That is to say, the New Jersey-born writer-director knows precisely how big a casting coup it was to land Brandon Routh — the studly star of director Bryan Singer’s 2006 Man of Steel update “Superman Returns” — to portray a closeted gay man. In Smith’s raunchy sex comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (which hits the Superman_logo_3multiplex tomorrow), Routh’s character, Bobby Long, is in a relationship with Justin Long’s flamboyant gay porn star character Brandon St. Randy. (The pair are pictured above, with Routh on the right.)

“On paper, it’s a thankless role. He’s the straight man, the set-up guy,” Smith, seated on the patio of his Hollywood Hills home last week, said of Routh. Instantly realizing his unintended pun, Smith reframed the discussion of Routh’s portrayal. “He’s a straight man playing a gay guy who’s pretending to be a straight guy in that weird ‘Victor Victoria’ way. But Brandon found a way to play him like a hen-pecked husband in a gay marriage who’s still not quite living out loud. He’s so funny. He found a way to make it more comedic than it was on the page without changing a word.”

Part way through filming in Pittsburgh last year, the auteur began conferring with “Zack and Miri” co-star Seth Rogen about who would be right to play the small but key role: the captain of the high school football team who Miri (Elizabeth Banks) attempts to seduce to humiliating effect at a high school reunion.

Superman_advocate“Seth and I were sitting around trying to figure out who would play Bobby Long,” Smith said. “I felt it should be a real salt-of-the-earth, middle American kind of guy. Someone like Superman. And Seth’s like, ‘Brandon Routh. Let’s call him.’”

“Banks was in the room while I was having this conversation with Seth and she’s like, ‘Are you talking about Superman? My agent is his agent.’ We got him the script, he read it, dug it, came out to the set. And all props to him.”

Smith surmised that Routh used the role to upend his public persona –- and also take a poke at all those rumors about his sexual orientation that apparently came from having worked with Singer, who is openly gay. It even led to magazine covers such as the one here on the right. (Routh, by the way, married his longtime girlfriend Courtney Ford in 2007.)

“I think he saw this as the chance to make fun of the fact that people assume he must be gay because he worked with Bryan Singer or something like that,” said Smith. “He embraced it. He ran with it.”

RELATED Los Angeles Times feature on Brandon Routh

Geoff Boucher’s 2005 visit to the set of "Superman Returns" in Australia

Photo from "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." Credit: Darren Michaels / Weinstein Co.

More in: Uncategorized, Kevin Smith, Superman

Comments


10 Responses to Kevin Smith discusses the gay Man of Steel

  1. jt says:

    Kevin Smith is not only a brilliant writer and director, but someone who truly makes people think. I look forward to his sessions at Comic Con every year.

  2. shaun says:

    I'm always confused on how it is that Kevin Smith manages to inject something gay into every single story he writes. I'm including his comics since, as a fan, I've also read his released comic work like Green Arrow. His whole thing about X-2 (smith) was that it was great because it was "about being gay", and he complained that superman wasn't gay enough. He's obsessed with condoning the lifestyle at every turn and it got old a long time ago. Also people don't just assume he's gay because he worked with Bryan Singer, they also assume he's gay because Singer said he wanted to use the story of superman to encourage people to come out of the closet. They also assume it because Singer said that in order to do that he wanted to cast someone gay to play Superman. Please stop preaching all the time and just write your movies. WE get it, you like gay people. Fine. Now go improve your visual style or something.

  3. Disgusted says:

    Superman a Homo? Is NOTHING sacred?

  4. Glenn says:

    "(Routh, by the way, married his longtime girlfriend Courtney Ford in 2007.)"
    Well, I guess that proves he's not gay.
    Michael Jackson was married too. So was that guy from that live talent show thing, who just had a kid and said he's gay.
    Like anyone didn't know that.
    Funny.

  5. Denver Dave says:

    Isn't "fanboy" a pejorative term?

  6. oakmonster says:

    Hmm. Brandon Routh. Straight or not, I'll tap that. ;-D

  7. Johnny Thomas says:

    I think bringing homosexuality to the media will make it a more routine subject and eventually less controversial. I'm sure some will think this makes it somehow more contagious. Personally, I think you either are or you are not. This might encourage people to explore their sexuality and discover whether or not they have been true to themselves. As long as they can handle the truth it should only help them to be happier, more satisfied, individuals.
    Well done Kevin Smith!

  8. Jake says:

    The problem with the internet is that stupid people believe everything they read, believe things they don't actually read (but believe they did). It's the classic sitcom convention from the 50s, tell your neighbor a story about a couple verbal fighting, the next neighbor who tells the story says the husband struck the wife, the third neighbor over tells their neighbor, the beat the wife to a pulp, the fourth neighbor tells his neighbor the police were called and the husbands in jail, and this neighbor tells the postman to stop delivering the mail, the wife was slaughtered in the accident and the husband is about to executed for the murder.
    JT: It's bad enough you repeat stupid gossip like this: "Also people don't just assume he's gay because he worked with Bryan Singer, they also assume he's gay because Singer said he wanted to use the story of superman to encourage people to come out of the closet. They also assume it because Singer said that in order to do that he wanted to cast someone gay to play Superman." But since you are putting words in Bryan Singer's mouth, how about pointing us to the quotes? You can't because aren't ACTUAL statements he made. Make a simple search for ["bryan singer" interview Superman Returns] and then narrow the results by the word "gay" you will find no such quote — ANYWHERE.

  9. Moses says:

    is that the truth?
    he makes a good superman but i suggest a better story for superman..
    lifting sucks… why dont they give superman a good villain to fight…
    I suggest doomsday or darkside… its why superman movies dont hit it its because we fans would love to see fight scenes from the man of steel…

  10. Steven says:

    I'm not even going to post what I was going to say. So there.

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