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,”
“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,”
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.