By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com September 10 2012 5:08 PM ET
With the growing popularity of NBC's Grimm (in which lesbian actress Jennifer Lanier had a recurring role as a medical examiner) and, well, every other recent animated fairy tale remake, which has something special for LGBT viewers?
Snow White and the Huntsman
By now director Rupert Sanders is known more for diddling the talent than he is for helming the ambitious (albeit flawed) directorial debut Snow White and the Huntsman, but his darker reinterpretation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — out today on Blu-Ray and DVD — is worth a gander still for a couple of reasons. Namely: Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. Already a gay fave from his turn as Thor in The Avengers, Hemsworth is the titular Huntsman who goes after and then eventually helps rescue Snow White, played by Kristen Stewart, who still seems sullen and prototypically queer even after having her (straight) romatic life covered in every tabloid. But it's Theron who makes the film worth the rental. The actress, who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award, for her role as lesbian serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 drama Monster, is no stranger to shapeshifting, in that film and others such as North Country and Æon Flux (she trained with Cirque du Soleil to help her play the bisexual assassin). As the Evil Queen in this Snow White, Theron is fierce and beautiful, and within her first few moments on-screen we see her literally murder to move up. Now that's girl power.
I don't care how gay viewers thought Legally Blonde was, this parable based on Little Red Riding Hood is both Reese Witherspoon's best and queerest film. It's nowhere near appropriate for kids, either, which makes for a perfect grown-up fairy tale. In it Witherspoon is a troubled teen with a sex worker mom (played by Amanda Plummer, who played queer in the cult classic Butterfly Kiss). When the girl tries to hitchhike to grandma's house she unwittingly gets picked up by a serial killer instead (the brilliantly bad Kiefer Sutherland as Bob), something that starts a long cat-and-mouse game that lasts until the stunning conclusion. Along the way, there's Brooke Shields, the late Brittany Murphy as lesbian heroin user Rhonda, and gay actor Guillermo Díaz as a gang member named Flaco.
Alice in Wonderland
This 3D Disney blockbuster makes Wonderland look as queer as we all expected, with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska (who played the daughter of lesbians in The Kids Are Alright) as a decidedly independent and feminist Alice trying to figure the damn place out. There are real gays behind the scenes too in this Tim Burton reimagining of the classic: Out actor Stephen Fry voices the Cheshire Cat while Matt Lucas inhabits Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Oh, and the Red Queen is played by Helena Bonham Carter, who isn't a lesbian but is so popular with queer girls that there's a petition going around to encourage her to play a lesbian on-screen soon.
Set in Renaissance-era France, Ever After is bascially a post-feminist retelling of Cinderella with Drew Barrymore at the center. Barrymore's Cinderella (er, Danielle) is spunky and quick-witted, while Anjelica Huston plays the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghen (aka the evil stepmother) to the hilt. Even better: Melanie Lynskey, who played the murderous teen lesbian so briliantly in Heavenly Creatures, here inhabits one of the stepsisters, a kinder, gentler version who actually helps Danielle survive the indignities inflicted on her by the Baroness. Kathleen Marshall is developing a theatrical adaptation that will head to Broadway in 2013. You kow that one will be packed with gays — in the audience and the cast.