Apr 13, 2016

Mason Gamble

In the science fiction thriller Gattaca (1997), young Vincent (Mason Gamble) is "different," "inferior" in a society of genetically engineered supermen.  He excels anyway, besting his brother Anton (Chad Christ) at a swimming contest and longing to participate in an elite space-exploration program that's open only to the genetically superior.

Obvious gay symbolism -- the "inferior" outsider who longs to be a real boy.  Plus bonding: when Vincent grows into an adult (Ethan Hawke), he "borrows" the DNA of crippled athlete Jerome (Jude Law), and rather overtly falls in love with him.

Throughout his career, Mason Gamble has played outsiders who challenge heterosexist strictures.  At age six-and-a-half, he beat out 20,000 hopefuls for the role of Dennis the Menace in the feature film (1993), which, challenges the myth of the heterosexual nuclear family, the tight triad of Dad-Mom-Kids that is presumably all you need and will ever need, until the Kids grow up, marry, and form Dad-Mom-Kids triads of their own.

In the myth of the heterosexual family, other friends are irrelevant, other relatives unwelcome intrusions, and strangers malicious (as we see in the MGM Tarzan series).  But even more than in the comic strip and television versions, Dennis seeks out emotional connection outside, with Joey, with Margaret, and with Mr. Wilson.  Not romantic bonds, certainly, but nevertheless bonds which, according to the myth, do not and cannot exist.

In Rushmore (1998), Mason plays Dirk, a shy, quiet outsider who is drawn to the eccentric high schooler Max (Jason Schwartzman).  Max is aggressively heterosexual, dating two older teachers (in a modern update of the 1980s "sex with the babysitter" genre), but Dirk is not.  They quarrel, plot acts of revenge against each other, and finally reconcile.

A Gentleman's Game (2002) is about a teenage golf caddy (Mason) who discovers a dark sexual secret (not that dark secret) involving his best friend, and meanwhile tries to hide his interest in golf pro Foster Pearce (Gary Sinise).

Now tall, slim, and square-jawed, Mason still acts occasionally, while working toward a degree in marine biology.

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