Cate Blanchett defends straight actors playing gay characters – do you agree with her?

Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett has spoken out about the casting of straight actors in gay roles in movies.

22nd October 2018
/ By Andrew Wooding

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Several Hollywood productions came under fire earlier this year for giving the parts of gay characters to straight actors, with a lot of the focus landing on British comedian Jack Whitehall being cast as Disney's first openly gay character in the upcoming film Jungle Cruise.

Blanchett, who played a lesbian woman in Todd Haynes's 2015 film Carol, spoke out about the issue at the Rome Film Festival on Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After viewing a clip from the film during a discussion with the festival's artistic director, Antonio Monda, the 49-year-old star claimed she had been asked numerous times about her sexuality during promotional interviews for the film.

"I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience," she told the audience, according to The Hollywood Reporter

"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.

“Part of being an actor to me, it’s an anthropological exercise. So you get to examine a time frame, a set of experiences, an historical event that you didn’t know anything about.”

Legendary actor, Sir Ian McKellen, highlighted earlier this year that an openly gay man has never won a Best Actor Oscar, despite straight actors having done so for playing gay characters.

Sean Penn won the Best Actor Oscar in 2008 for his performance as gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk in the film Milk.

And Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 movie Monster.

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