The director of Bring It On has addressed the use of a gay slur in the classic teen cheerleading film.
In an interview withInsider marking the movie's 20th anniversary, Peyton Reed said the uttering of "fag" was "intentional in terms of dealing with the sexuality and the gender politics in the movie."
The slur is used twice in the film. In one scene, football players direct it at male cheerleaders played by Nathan West and Huntley Ritter. "It's definitely hate speech -- it's intended to be hate speech" in that instance, Reed asserted.
In another scene, Eliza Dushu's character Missy, a new cheerleader on the team, says the word in a car ride to a football game. "Are you trying to tell me you speak fag?" she asked. Reed explained, "The whole idea that [screenwriter] Jessica [Bendinger] had was kids co-opting language and using it in that way. That was the intent of it."
"If we were to make the movie today, it probably would be approached in a different way. A lot of things would," added the director, who has since gone on to direct Marvel hits Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Bring It On, which starred Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union, Dushku, Jesse Bradford, Clare Kramer, and Lindsay Sloane, has become a cult classic since its 2000 release. Its strong female characters, skewering of racial appropriation, choreography scenes, and campy moments (dropping the "Spirit Stick" at cheer camp supposedly engenders a curse) have endeared it to many queer fans.
Revisit the roll call below.