Fans of the Transporter films aren't usually looking for a lot of subtlety and nuance, not unless those are codewords for "butt-kicking" and "car crashes." But Louis Leterrier, the whimsical Frenchman who directed the second film and co-directed the first one, said in 2005 that he had a subtext in mind for Jason Statham's title character: He was gay.

Chris Lee writes at the Los Angeles Times' fanboy blog that three years ago, when Transporter 2 came out, well, so did Frank Martin. According to Lee, Leterrier pointed to the scene where Frank turns down a romantic advance from Amber Valletta by saying, "It's because of who I am." Leterrier said, "That's him coming out!"

"If you watch the movie and you know he's gay, it becomes so much more fun," Lee quotes Leterrier as saying in 2005. "It's so great -- the first gay action movie hero! ... Action fans in general are pretty homophobic. You see these tough guys who say, 'The Transporter, that's such a great movie!' If they only knew they're really cheering for a new kind of action hero."

Statham didn't pay much attention to his director's comments, telling Lee in 2005, "It's just Lou-Lou trying to be funny. Although he did say, 'In Part 2, you will become the gay icon.'" That part might have come true, as Statham's many shirtless scenes made him popular in certain quarters, even if the character himself wasn't overtly gay.

Olivier Megaton, the fake-name-using, franchise-ruining director of the abysmal new Transporter 3, apparently didn't get the memo at all. His film has Frank hooking up with a petulant, morose, highly irritating Russian woman, so Lee asked Leterrier for his reaction. (Maybe it's just a phase! Maybe it's only to get his mother off his back!) Leterrier seemed to recant on his original vision. "I was sick over the weekend and my two Transporters were on, so I watched them, and in fact they aren't that gay," Leterrier wrote in an e-mail to Lee. "But it makes for fun movie legends."

As Dumbledore fans can tell you, outing a character after the fact doesn't count, and it counts even less when the outing is followed by a de-outing. Besides, playing a joke on homophobes by making them love a gay hero only works if the character is actually gay, not just gay in your imagination. Until such a character emerges, proponents of gay heroes will have to content themselves with their Harvey Milk action figures.