Once again a major tentpole Hollywood release has toyed with having a LGBT major character, but then backed out of explicitly mentioning by leaving it on the cutting room floor. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, Vice Admiral Holdo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and (allegedly) Dumbledore in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is Dr. Zia Rodriguez in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
The actress behind the paleo-veterinarian character, Daniella Pineda, has revealed that they filmed a scene where Zia reveals she’s a lesbian, or at least somewhere on the LGBT spectrum. Talking to Yahoo!, Pineda says, “I look at Chris and I’m like: ‘Yeah, square jaw, good bone structure, tall, muscles. I don’t date men, but if I did, it would be you. It would gross me out, but I’d do it.’ I love that I’m looking at Chris Pratt, the hottest guy in the world, and I’m like, ‘It would gross me out, but I guess I would do it!’ It was also cool, because it was a little insight into my character. But they cut it.”
The scene was cut, according to the character, because the original cut of the movie was two hours and 40 minutes long. As a result this character moment was removed during the process of getting it down to a more manageable 127 minutes.
This excuse has been used over and over again in Hollywood though, as it’s wearing a little thing. It’s probably true that in the filmmaker and studio’s minds, timing is the reason these scenes end up getting was removed, but that’s because the LGBT sides of characters in huge movies are always written as so tangential, which makes them so easy to remove. In nearly every case where one of these films has flirted with explicitly saying they’ve got a gay character, it’s been mentioned or hinted at in a single scene. Although a couple of these scenes have made it to the screen – such as the ‘gay moment’ in Beauty and the Beast – most have ended up on the cutting room floor simply because they were written in a way that almost by design made it superfluous and at risk of seeming tokenistic.
Until screenwriters realise that a LGBT character’s sexuality can be woven into the movie in the same way it is for most straight people (who tend to flirt and mention their attraction to people of the opposite sex more than once in an entire movie), it’s likely we’ll keep hearing about how a massive movie filmed a gay scene but it ended up on the cutting room floor.