Cate Blanchett has defended straight actors playing gay characters and said she will “fight to the death” for the right to suspend disbelief.
Hollywood has been criticised for giving LGBT roles to straight actors and, earlier this year, Scarlett Johansson dropped out of playing a transgender character following a backlash.
But Blanchett, who played a lesbian in 2015’s Carol, disagrees with the idea that a performer can only form a deep bond with a character if they have shared experiences and believes it defies the point of acting.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, she said: “It also speaks to something that I’m quite passionate about in storytelling generally, but in film specifically, which 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.”
Sir Ian McKellen is among those critical of Hollywood’s attitude to gay actors.
No openly gay man has ever won the Academy Award for best actor, while straight actors have taken home the prize for playing LGBT roles.
Tom Hanks won it for Philadelphia, while Sean Penn scooped it for Milk.
In total, 52 straight people have been Oscar-nominated for playing gay characters.