Cate Blanchett, who can do no wrong, has done a little more right, continuing the normalizing of notions of sexual fluidity in the mainstream. Many, when thinking about Cate Blanchett’s love life, associate her with her long and seemingly stable marriage to Andrew Upton, with whom she co-artistic directs the Sydney Repertory Theatre. But when she was being interviewed by Variety about her upcoming role Todd Haynes film, Carol (adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt) — which is about the relationship between two women — she was asked whether she’d ever dated women. Blanchett nonchalantly responded, “Yes, many times.” The Variety piece then continues to paraphrase Blanchett’s dismissal of labels.
In the past, it’s so often been the case that actors have defended their straightness by asserting their distance from — coupled with an appreciation and sympathy for! — the queer characters they play. Hopefully the effortlessness of Blanchett’s admission will continue cracking open a door for celebrities — and people in general — to feel more comfortable about discussing queer relationships without worrying it’ll lead to Hollywood (and societal) typecasting.
Carol is a 1950s period piece, in which Blanchett plays a NY woman who falls for a much younger store clerk, played by Rooney Mara. In the Variety interview, she also discussed the difficulty they had getting the film made for this very reason:
It was so hard…Midrange films with women at the center are tricky to finance. There are a lot of people laboring under the misapprehension that people don’t want to see them, which isn’t true… I want [gender equity] to not be discussed anymore. But it needs to be discussed.
Carol premieres at Cannes on May 17.