Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Martian Child

About five years ago I was strolling through The Strand, and I came up on a book by David Gerrold, called The Martian Child. They've now made the book into movie starring John Cusack as David, and directed by Menno Meyjes, who among other things, also wrote the screenplay for "The Color Purple."

The trailer is out now. I watched it the other night at Kip's house, wondering how they'd make this lovely, small, quiet-with-big-impact semi-memoir into a mainstream film. It's about a single gay man who adpots a kid who thinks he's from Mars. And not like, he pretends to be from Mars. He actually believes it. Much to the dismay of social workers and David's friends, of course. No dismay to David, naturally. Well--some dismay, but you get the idea.

The trivia section for the The Martian Child's IMDB listing, explains this:
In David Gerrold's semi-autobiographical book The Martian Child, the character that was eventually played by John Cusack in this movie was, like Gerrold himself, a gay single father of an adopted son. The producers of the movie insisted that audiences would not accept the main character as a gay man and changed him to a heterosexual widower. Gerrold lobbied (unsuccessfully) for the character to remain gay, but ultimately he decided that it was more important that a film promoting adoption, foster parenthood, and attention to neglected children get made than to disallow the whole project on the basis of the main character's sexual orientation.
Doesn't that make you want to puke?

I wonder sometimes if audiences would "accept the main character as a gay man" if they saw a lot more gay men on screen. If, for example, gay men weren't just witty sidekicks, hairdressers and serial killers. (Okay, so I like the whole lesbian-serial-killer thing, but whatever.) I wonder if, in my lifetime, all the old, fat, rich, white, assholes who run Hollywood will finally just die already, and a newer, younger generation of producers and film studio heads will actually want to make movies about real people doing real things--regardless of the arrangement of their sexual behavior.

What they really mean when they say "accept the main character as a gay man" is that the audience would disagree with the idea that gay people can be parents, are worth making films about, scream pedofilia, ask for their money back and tell their friends not to see this liberal piece of commie trash. Well, isn't that what they'd say? More or less?

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