Cate Blanchett defends straight actors playing LGBTQ characters

“I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience.”

Cate Blanchett has come out in support of straight actors playing LGBTQ roles.

The Australian actress – who won an Oscar for her role as a lesbian in Carol (2015) – told The Hollywood Reporter that she disagrees with the notion that straight actors can’t portray characters without having shared experiences.

She confidently 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.”

There’s been a lot of discussion recently regarding straight actors in LGBTQ roles.

Back in July, Scarlett Johansson stepped down from playing transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill, born Jean Gill, in the upcoming biopic Rub and Tug, after receiving widespread backlash from, well, everyone.

“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive,” she told Out Magazine.

“I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”

Shortly after, British comedian Jack Whitehall was slated for accepting a role in the Disney action adventure Jungle Cruise, alongside The Rock and Emily Blunt.

Jack – who identifies as straight – will play the brother of Emily’s character, and will be “hugely effete, very camp and very funny”. It will also be made clear that he has no interest in women.

The movie – which has been described as a “turning point” in Disney’s history – is set in the 19th century, at a time when LGBTQ rights were non-existent and the majority of the community would remain closeted.

While Disney having an openly gay character in a big-budget movie may be a turning point, many have reacted poorly to the news that a straight actor will be playing the role, and worry that the character will be reduced to a stereotype.

Russell Tovey also came out in defence of straight actors playing gay roles, telling The Telegraph: “If you’re an actor, you’re an actor. The whole thing with Jack playing a gay character… I’m like, just let him act.”

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