Idle thoughts on a Sunday afternoon: How radically different would some movies be if the sexual orientation of a single character was changed? Actress Meredith Baxter revealed last week that she's a lesbian, which made me think of her most famous role as a mother in Family Ties, which made me think of Michael J. Fox, who played her son in that series. And that made me think of his most famous role as a son in Back to the Future, which made me think: what if Marty McFly's mother (played by Lea Thompson) was gay?
That would eliminate the most squeamish element of the movie: Lorraine's attraction to Marty. (When she's admiring him in his Calvin Kleins, yeesh! Get me out of here.) Instead, Marty might have time traveled back to 1955, seen that Lorraine wasn't attracted to George McFly (Crispin Glover), and then gradually come to realize -- with his 1985 perspective -- that his mother wasn't attracted to any of the boys in school, but was nursing a secret crush on one of her female classmates. Recognizing the social pressures against homosexuality in the 50s and battling his own mixed feelings, Marty still maneuvers circumstances so that his mother will decide to remain in the closet and marry George. Marty goes back to the future with a heavy heart, glad to be alive but with the secret, bittersweet knowledge that his self-sacrificing, loving mother may not be not truly happy.
What other movies might be radically changed if the sexual orientation of one of the characters was different?