During a recent panel in Rome, Cate Blanchett said that she would “fight to the death” to let straight actors play gay characters.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blanchett made her remarks at the Rome Film Festival, where she participated in a “Close Encounter” discussion with Antonio Monda, the festival's artistic director.

In Carol, Blanchett played an older woman who falls in love with a department store clerk, played by Rooney Mara, in 1950s New York. The lesbian love story is based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.

Blanchett said that in promoting the film she was often asked about her own sexuality, suggesting that having a lesbian experience was necessary for playing such a role.

“It also speaks to something that I’m quite passionate about in storytelling generally, but in film specifically, is that film can be quite a literal medium,” Blanchett said.

“And I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience. I think reality television and all that that entails had an extraordinary impact, a profound impact on the way we view the creation of character.”

“I think it provides a lot of opportunity, but the downside of it is that we now, particularly in America, I think, we expect and only expect people to make a profound connection to a character when it’s close to their experience,” she added.

(Related: Cate Blanchett calls on Australians to “vote yes” on gay marriage.)

Blanchett also called Carol a “real labor of love” for her. “I'd read the Patricia Highsmith story ages ago, when I was in high school. And the film, I think now would be made in a heartbeat, but eight years ago, it was a very difficult film to get up.”

Blanchett and Mara are among the 52 straight actors who have received Oscar nominations for their portrayals of a gay character, according to The Advocate. No openly gay man has ever won a best actor Oscar.