Jun 23, 2014

Jeremy Sumpter: A Normal Kid

Jeremy Sumpter's biography on IMDB states that he was a "normal kid," and that seems to be the mantra of the former child star's career: be normal, be heterosexual, flee from anything that might hint at the existence of gay people.

I first saw him in Frailty (2001), about a Christian fundamentalist who goes around killing people who are "possessed by demons," and is grooming his sons to follow in his footsteps. Gues who some of those people  "possessed by demons" are?  Of course, it's a bad thing to kill them, but still...

Then, in Florida, Local Boys (2002), about a group of local boys in Hawaii who go surfing.  "This was a hard film to shoot," Jeremy says on his website, "Since we were surfing at the beach almost everyday and there were all these girls around in bikinis."

Ok, ok, you're heterosexual.  I got it.  

Then came Peter Pan (2003), an execrable adaption of the gay-subtext classic.  Peter Pan wears a slinky-sexual vine-costume with odd bits of bare skin -- um, did anyone realize that Jeremy Sumpter was only 13 years old?  And instead of gay subtexts, we get a creepy attempt to initiate heterosexual desire in the pubescent Wendy.  Gross, disgusting, disturbing.....but, you have to admit, heterosexual.

Although it wasn't really his fault that he was cast in a movie for pedophiles, Peter Pan turned me off on ever seeing anything else with Jeremy Sumpter (or directed by P.J. Hogan).  So I didn't watch Clubhouse (2004-2005), about a teenager who becomes a batboy for a major league baseball team, and presumably, chases girls.

Or Calvin Marshall (2009), about a junior college baseball player who finds out what's really important in a boy's life: girls.

Or You're So Cupid (2010), about two girls in love with the same guy.

Or Friday Night Lights (2008-2010), about a high school football team in small-town Texas.

However, I did see Sasquatch Gang (2006), about slackers hunting the legendary monster.  Jeremy's character is aggressively heterosexual, but if you can get past the jokes about farts and turds, and the homophobic panic scenes, you get a nice gay-subtext couple, two guys (Justin Long, Joey Kerns) who live together and don't express any interest in girls.

And I understand that Animal (2014), otherwise a cliched horror movie, will include a gay character among its disparate types trapped in a wilderness cabin by a monster.  Maybe he'll be played by gay actor Paul Iocono.

So Jeremy can't keep gay people completely out of his work. But he's come close.

See also: Peter Pan.