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Singer, Bryan (b. 1965)  
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In his commentaries on the DVD editions, Singer indicates that he was aware of the gay implications of the storylines. For instance, he emphasizes that Ian McKellen's long experience as a gay activist helped him to make Magneto a compelling and complex character. Through McKellen's deft portrayal, Magneto's desire to destroy humans becomes understandable.

Moreover, Singer explains that he intended the scene of Bobby Drake/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) revealing his mutant identity to his parents (in X-2) as a variation of the classic coming out story. Undoubtedly, many gay viewers can relate to Bobby's discomfort when his mother pleads with him to just try living as a normal person.

Although homosexuality is not specifically referenced in the films, it is noteworthy that Singer places much more emphasis on the sexual problems encountered by the mutants than his comic sources did.

Thus, for example, in one of the earliest scenes of X-Men, the adolescent Marie D'Ancanto (Anna Paquin) inadvertently kills her boyfriend by draining life from him as they passionately kiss on her bed. Through this traumatic experience, she realizes that she is a mutant. Appalled by what has happened, her parents throw her out of their home.

Also, Rogue's efforts to find a way to connect physically, as well as emotionally, with Iceman constitute a moving and entertaining subplot in both of the films.

Constantly transforming from one gender to another, Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) embodies the multiple possibilities of identities. As played by the stunning Romijn, Mystique has become a cult figure among lesbians.

Superman Returns

To the dismay of the many fans of his two X-men films, Singer in 2004 turned down the opportunity to direct the third film in the series in order to undertake Superman Returns (2006).

From the time that he announced Superman Returns, gay bloggers fueled speculation that he would create a flamboyantly queer version of the "man of steel." However, Singer sought to deflate rumors about the possible gay aspects of his interpretation of Superman. In an interview with Lesley O'Toole and on other occasions, he asserted "Superman Returns is probably the most heterosexual movie I've ever made."

Singer also defied widespread expectations that the film would be intended primarily for male viewers (whether gay or straight) by conceiving Superman Returns primarily for women. Thus, in an interview with Michael Joseph Gross, he described Superman Returns as "my first chick flick." Although there are some very impressive action sequences, these are considerably fewer in number than in either of Singer's X-Men films.

Like many of the classic "women's films" of the Hollywood Golden Age, Superman Returns is focused on the lead character's longing for a love that can never be fulfilled. At the beginning of Singer's film, Superman comes back to earth after having been away for several years investigating rumors that his home planet had not actually been destroyed. He is dismayed to learn that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has tried to distance herself from his memory--even writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning story that the world no longer needed him. Furthermore, Lois is happily married and has a son.

Although he rightly suspects that Lois's son is his child, Superman realizes that he should not do anything to disrupt her marriage because he recognizes that her husband, Richard White (James Marsden), is fundamentally a very good man. In keeping with this storyline, Brandon Routh endows Superman with a considerably softer personality than earlier actors did.

While mainstream critics praised the traditional values that seemed to be expressed in Superman Returns, some gay bloggers lamented that Singer had not taken the opportunity to create an overtly queer version of the classic story. However, Superman Returns really does offer much to queer viewers.

First and most obviously, one can appreciate the splendid physical endowments of Brandon Routh, emphasized by his very tight blue costume and very skimpy shorts. Combining physical strength with emotional sensitivity, Routh's Superman in many respects seems to correspond with gay male ideals in the early twenty-first century.

Moreover, some of the actors--most notably Kevin Spacey as the master criminal Lex Luthor and Parker Posey as his moll, Kitty Kowalski--infuse their performances with a wonderfully camp sensibility.

Singer as Television Producer

To insure creative control, Singer has produced all of the films that he has directed, and he also has been active as a producer of movies and television programs by others. Among his recent successful television productions are the SciFi Channel miniseries The Triangle (2005) and the hit Fox series House M.D. (on air since November 2004).

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