Cate Blanchett Opens the Closet Door with Lesbian Romance ‘Carol’

Cate Blanchett Cannes
Steven Chee for Variety

It’s not surprising that “Carol” was locked away in Hollywood’s development closet for 15 years. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s scandalous 1952 novel “The Price of Salt,” Todd Haynes’ latest movie is a double whammy by industry standards: it’s headlined by two women, who fall in love with each other.

The film, which stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and premieres at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, arrives at a pivotal, yet paradoxical, time for female-driven stories. There has been a string of hits this year that celebrate female empowerment — from “Insurgent” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” to “Cinderella,” and the upcoming “Trainwreck,” “Spy” and the final installment of “The Hunger Games.” That said, gender inequality both in front of and behind the camera is a hot-button issue in the global entertainment business.

As one of cinema’s most prominent stars, Blanchett, whose recent roles include the evil stepmother in “Cinderella,” doesn’t want Hollywood to wait for Prince Charming to save the day. “We have to push forward,” says the 45-year-old Australian actress, who believes successful women are finally starting to nurture projects for females. “What industry has parity pay for women? None. Why would we expect this industry to be any different?” She says the dominance of male stories on the bigscreen is bad business. “It’s not serving the audience,” she explains. “People want to see good films. We should have equal access to the multiplexes.”

Steven Chee for Variety

On a recent afternoon in Manhattan, lounging outside the Crosby Street Hotel with her hair in a ponytail and a shawl draped over her shoulders, Blanchett says she wasn’t convinced that “Carol” would ever make it to theaters. “It was so hard,” she recalls. “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.” And while the franchise-obsessed movie industry covets young male audiences above all else, it can no longer ignore female moviegoers — who account for at least half of ticket sales each year.

Blanchett believes there is some hope. “I think there’s been a critical mass of women who have reached a certain place in the industry,” she says, citing Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, as well as producer Allison Shearmur, who made the Disney fairy tale about a magical glass slipper a reality. “I want it to not be discussed anymore,” Blanchett notes. “But it needs to be discussed.”

Blanchett was delighted when she received a call in 2013 from her old pal Haynes (“I’m Not There”), telling her he wanted to make “Carol,” after a series of directors had dropped out. The drama centers on a charismatic New Yorker (Blanchett) who embarks on a passionate love affair with a younger department store clerk, Therese (Mara).

The indie production, which was financed by Film4 and Goldcrest Films, and was filmed in a Cincinnati outfitted to look like 1950s New York, wrapped in only 35 days in April 2014. “We shot in these old homes that felt like tombs,” Blanchett says. “The atmosphere of the city really added to the atmosphere of the film.” But after various cuts were shown to test audiences, the movie (scheduled for a late 2015 release from the Weinstein Co.) went into hibernation.

If “Carol” works, it could earn Blanchett a seventh Oscar nomination (she’s already won two Academy Awards, for 2004’s “The Aviator” and 2013’s “Blue Jasmine”). But if it stumbles, it may be perceived as yet another example of the curse of the gay love story.

When Highsmith first published “The Price of Salt,” she used a pseudonym to protect herself from public outcry. These are very different times, but Hollywood still hasn’t caught up. “Brokeback Mountain” debuted 10 years ago, and there have been few breakthrough gay romances since. Even the past summer’s enthusiastically reviewed “Love Is Strange,” starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a couple, eked out only $2.3 million at the domestic box office.

Haynes, who directed Dennis Quaid’s closeted husband character in “Far From Heaven,” says the focus on gay stories has shifted more to TV. “In some ways, the event of a gay love story is less surprising every day,” Haynes says. “But I think love stories are hard to pull off, period. They require external forces that keep the lovers apart.” Elizabeth Karlsen, who produced “Carol,” adds: “I hope it’s a film for everyone. And certainly when we’ve screened it, we’ve found young and old, male and female, straight and gay, have all responded.”

Blanchett was a celebrated Australian stage actress before she was cast in Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 drama “Elizabeth.” Kapur recalls interest from a variety of A-list actresses — including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kidman — in playing the virgin queen, but from the moment he saw a clip of Blanchett, he knew she was fated to assume the throne. “Cate Blanchett was destined to break upon the international screen, and I was her conduit,” Kapur says. He recalls how a young Blanchett would beat herself up after takes, saying that she hadn’t quite landed a scene.

That trait evidently still persists some 50 movies later. “There are days when she’s frustrated by her own work,” Haynes says. “We don’t know what she talking about, but she’ll say, ‘I need to take an acting pill today. It’s not working.’ ” Blanchett doesn’t like to talk about her how she prepares for a role. “Do I have a process?” she asks. “I don’t know. There are certainly things perhaps that I don’t want to identify.”

Steven Chee for Variety

Until recently, she ran the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia with her husband, Andrew Upton, and she’d criss-cross between stage and screen roles such as “The Monuments Men,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” trilogies, in which she portrayed the elf Galadriel.

When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. “On film — or in real life?” she asks coyly. Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: “Yes. Many times,” but doesn’t elaborate. Like Carol, who never “comes out” as a lesbian, Blanchett doesn’t necessarily rely on labels for sexual orientation. “I never thought about it,” she says of how she envisioned the character. “I don’t think Carol thought about it.” The actress studied the era by picking up banned erotic novels. “I read a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period,” she says.

The other book on Blanchett’s shelf was “The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark,” by psychoanalyst Josh Cohen, which she found relevant on many levels. She describes Carol as “unknowable,” but she could just as easily be talking about herself. Unlike many celebrities today, she treasures her privacy.

For example, she says she’ll never join Twitter. “I think I’d end up in rehab,” she jokes. “That stuff is addictive.” She doesn’t Google herself either. She finds out she’s made headlines when she walks her kids to school and the crossing guard tells her, “What they said about you — that was terrible!” Blanchett realizes we live in a society of snoops. “We need to get into people’s private lives now,” she says. “If they are hiding something, they are dishonest.”

She eventually offers some details about how she unlocked her latest character. Blanchett turned to the film’s costume designer, Sandy Powell, for help. “We asked, ‘What is the most erotic part of the body?’” Blanchett says. “We kept saying that wrists are really erotic. The neck. The ankles. The way Highsmith writes, she’s got this exquisite observation of detail that most people would miss, but a lover’s eye never would. We talked a lot about erogenous zones.”

One of the most memorable scenes in the novel takes place in a hotel room, when the women consummate their love for the first time. The scene appears in the film too, though it isn’t overtly racy. “It’s not ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’ ” Blanchett says. “That’s not the ambition of the film.”

Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy had always been a Highsmith fan. As a researcher at the New York Times Magazine in the late ’80s, she finally met her literary idol when Highsmith was commissioned to write a walking tour of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, and Nagy tagged along. The two struck up a friendship through letters and occasional visits — Highsmith would write to her from Switzerland, where she spent her final years. She even suggested Nagy make one of her books into a movie, a daunting proposition, because Highsmith loathed all adaptations of her work, including the 1951 Hitchcock classic “Strangers on a Train.” (She died in 1995, four years before the release of “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” in which Blanchett co-stars and first discovered Highsmith.)

Around 2000, a producer from Film4 had acquired the rights to “Carol,” and asked Nagy to work on an adaptation. The writer had a distinct take. “To me, Carol was very much like Grace Kelly in ‘Rear Window,’ ” she says. “There’s a sexuality beneath the cool.” She cranked out a first draft in 10 weeks, and spent the next decade working on roughly 10 revisions. “People came and went,” Nagy says. “Various directors were attached and unattached,” including Kenneth Branagh and John Maybury.

The rights eventually lapsed, and returned to the Highsmith estate. That’s when producer Karlsen at Number 9 Films decided to chase after them. The pursuit took her all the way to Zurich, where she had to arrange for an in-person meeting with publishing house Diogenes to make her case that she’d actually get the movie finished. “It’s not a coincidence that I’m a female producer,” Karlsen says. “I have three daughters, and that puts me in tune with the paucity of great female roles. It’s almost by osmosis that you’re drawn to them.”

Steven Chee for Variety

The “Carol” team underwent one more round of musical chairs before the cameras rolled. Blanchett was always interested in starring, and director John Crowley (“Brooklyn”) boarded the project, and tried to lure Mara to play Therese, but she had just completed “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and passed.

“I didn’t think I could play the part,” Mara says. “So I turned it down, which is insane to me now, because working with Cate has always been a dream.”

Then Crowley had to bail due to scheduling, and producer Christine Vachon suggested Haynes, who was available. “I felt there was something exciting about the festering interiority of a person falling in love,” says the director, who shot the movie in 16mm (the look was inspired by the photography of Vivian Maier).

Haynes and Blanchett were glad to be reunited, and Mia Wasikowska was cast as Therese, but she too had to drop out due to a conflict. Haynes went back to Mara, who agreed to take the part this time. With all the near misses, Nagy believes Haynes was always meant to direct “Carol.” “Happily, we saved the best for last,” she says.

Blanchett is no stranger to Cannes. She first attended the festival in 1997, as an up-and-coming actress who used her connections to land a ticket to the premiere of Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm.” She returned in 1999, with “An Ideal Husband,” in which she played Lady Gertrude Chiltern. “It was like night and day, walking down the Croisette on star Rupert Everett’s arm,” Blanchett recalls. “I was laughing so hard, because only two years earlier, I’d been on the other side of the barricades.”

Other trips to the festival would follow, for films including 2006’s “Babel.” But it was 2008’s out-of-competition screening for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in which she plays a villainous Soviet agent opposite Harrison Ford, that drew the biggest crowds. “I’d never seen so many people,” she marvels. “It was like Harrison was the pope.” Last year, she returned with “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” for which she voiced Valka, Hiccup’s mom.

Though she is considered one of the greatest modern screen actresses, Blanchett doesn’t like to watch herself in movies. “I never think I have it,” she says. “Maybe that’s why I keep working.” She’ll often calm herself by imagining that nobody will ever see the movie she’s making, but that didn’t work when she boarded “The Aviator” as Katharine Hepburn, given the high profiles of director Martin Scorsese and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. She had a ball on set, but when she saw the finished film, she wasn’t satisfied with her performance. “I was filled with disappointment and regret,” admits the actress, who has starred in plays such as “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Hedda Gabler” and Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” “That’s what I love about theater — you can try to improve what happened the night before.”

The Blanchett-Uptons are planning to move soon from Sydney to either New York or San Francisco. But first, she is in Manhattan for a quick visit before Cannes to reshoot a scene for “Truth,” about Dan Rather’s last days at CBS, in which she stars with Robert Redford. She’s also completed back-to-back Terrence Malick projects, filming for four days on “Knight of Cups,” and then two weeks on “Weightless,” a film for which she had to pseudo-improvise. “Terry would write reams and reams of poetry, and he’d give it to you in the morning,” says Blanchett, who told the director she couldn’t memorize all those lines that quickly. So he’d read her the dialogue in an earpiece. “You’d say what you heard or misheard,” Blanchett says.

She hasn’t seen either of those films, but Haynes showed her an early cut of “Carol” last August. “The visuals surprised even me,” Blanchett says. “I somehow was expecting something more familiar.” If Carol lived today, she couldn’t see her marching in a gay pride parade. “Her sexuality isn’t politicized,” Blanchett says. “I think there are a lot of people that exist like that who don’t feel the need to shout things from the rafters.” She says the movie captures the spirit of Highsmith’s prose. “Her stories, her characters, the texture that she writes are so slippery,” Blanchett says. “It was no surprise to me that it was a tricky thing to get made.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 77

Leave a Reply

77 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Alida Bosaz says:

    “Carol” is the most beautiful movie I’ve seen that has two women fall in love, really fall in love. I, who was born that way, and never thought that my feelings had a label, found the same in the way Carol and Therese , slowly but surely were able to express their love for each other. Everything about this Movie is loving and beautiful….so much so that I end up watching it everyday, just to be happy ( after my teens I stopped even thinking of who I was, never mind that I fell in love, secretly). I had been loved many times by fantastic women, in Europe , but I couldn’t reciprocate, so afraid was I. I would not march for or politicise what is so sacred : Love. Cate and Rooney took Carol and ran with it, simply and amazingly with certainty of their love. I love them, myself, always, for this gift.

  2. Lou says:

    I wish I could have played Maras’ part I 60 yo single was sexually moved by the movie Carol!!!

  3. lori says:

    I feel as though people are passionate in there approach and beliefs Kat! You seem very passionate and defensive of people who have been slammed in their place in their beliefs!

  4. kat says:

    I apologize if I said anything that would offend anyone on the interim of this movie…… I totally believe Cate Blanchett is a star and that everything that she does or has done to make people understand some things in a different way… i’s a godsend!! My favorite movie she ever did was the gift… I completely understand this movie because I’ve lived the same way since I had the same gift since I was 5!!….. it’s amazing to me how many of these people replicate these stories and never make contact with people who experienced the same thing they do in real life! :( they just blindly believe what anybody feed them in a story!

  5. kat says:

    Why are you all of a sudden blocking what I have to say?????now there is 1 comment on te movie Carol….there were 77??

  6. Kat says:

    Does it really matter if she had any same sex experiences..?? That would be NO!! She is an actress….do i really need to post the definition of an actress? No…she is convincing on screen with her acting skills. Isn’t that the point of her job…..this is her job. Not being gay or bisexual really?? She is completely straight and convinced us on screen that she wasn’t! Get over it!! She made a point….that was her job!! As an ACTRESS! ‘Cate Blanchett’….. call Jake Jillenhall??? He played someone gay in Brokeback mountain…..was he Gay? No!

  7. Kat says:

    I went to see Carol today it was the most beautiful movie!! The cinematography was magnificent I live in the southern most part of the United States and there were only four of us in the entire theater.. I was completely disgusted by the lack of community and the lack of cultural appreciation for this film…Cate blanchett is someone that I have loved in film since ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’

  8. Joann Somers says:

    Excellent film! Deserves many awards.

  9. Joann Somers says:

    Excellent acting ,once again , from Cate and Rooney, in the movie “Carol” .They both deserve an academy award.

  10. So this airhead thinks that there is a market for lesbian romance? She does realize that lesbians are only about 1% of the population. And many women find them icky.

    • Kat says:

      Seriously I don’t really think you have any leeway to make a comment on an actress that is as accomplished as Cate Blanchett when apparently you’re not anywhere in the limelight or the newspapers or the media so that you can say what you have or have not accomplished what she has… so I think
      you just need to keep it to yourself and shut it!!!! She is a beautiful person and a
      beautiful actress and you’re just jealous of her success so try to understand your own psychological evaluation of yourself …..’and
      your approach to this!!!’ Can’t someone
      just be happy that someone else has done something or accomplished something that they haven’t??? Back off!

  11. Rodrigo says:

    Opening a closed door?

    • Joann Somers says:

      I respect everyones opinion. Your statistics are wrong. Love is love. Respect that.To be angry or objectionable, serves no purpose .

  12. jake says:

    Opening a closed door? There’s not one door that hasn’t been opened and reopened to the point of ho hum…

  13. Stergios says:

    Sorry, but that’s definitely not reporting at its best. You didn’t bother to include her entire response on whether she had “sexual relationships” with women or not? Because, for anyone interested, she totally cleared things up in Cannes press conference for Carol, revealing she never had any sexual relationships with women in her life. Adding a “who cares”? And really, who cares anyway? She’s the best actress ever, that’s the only thing that should matter.

    • Kat says:

      Oh did you speak with her and she conclusively led you to this truth??? Just remember if you don’t speak to someone directly you know really know the truth and knowing that Cate Blanchett is a Taurus….she will tell you the truth!!! Just ask her directly!

  14. So you only give part of her response? You don’t bother to report that she has never had “sexual realtionships” with women? Not very honest reporting. What a shame.

  15. So, in which universe is Fifty Shades of Grey considered empowering to women?

  16. No one empowers anyone. You seize the day. As for sex…it’s how one feels and not what other people think.

  17. And we need to know this now WHY???

  18. Sun says:

    I also disagree with your statement regarding Fifty Shades of Grey as an example of female empowerment.

  19. pat pelland says:

    Disagree with your statement regarding Fifty Shades of Grey as an example of female empowerment.

  20. James Ramsey says:

    Which makes her even sexier ! : )

  21. lizardwest says:

    AN informative essay. Thanks for the insights. Kate is a great great Actress and I love her work regardless of her personal life. Charles Riley

  22. Betsy Duncan says:

    Oh.My.God! My favorite book is FINALLY being made?! I wish it were still called “The Price of Salt” (which is such a wonderful title, on so many levels), but i’m over the moon that the book is now a movie! And with Cate as Carol?! WOW! Can.Not.Wait! It’s about time!

  23. Lou Lou says:

    High Art was a great film. And, it came out at a time not so friendly to gay and lesbian relationships. As for the cave man’s comments. Just trying to get a rise out of people. Happens all the time on these sites. Ignore it.

  24. Jennie says:

    The author cites “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Cinderella,” as films that celebrate female empowerment??? Are you kidding??? Cinderella is the classic go-to story for women being saved by prince charming, and 50 Shades, where the woman is tied up and beaten, but it’s ok because he’s rich and gorgeous???? Ramin – you are COMPLETELY out of touch with this “hot button” issue.

    Kudos to Ms. Blanchett for this movie and taking on the Hollywood establishment, I hope it lives up to the hype.

    • hopegigalo says:

      Literally came here to say this. Those two films are the exact OPPOSITE of films that celebrate female empowerment.

      As to Fifty Shades of Grey, there is a HUGE difference between a sexually empowered woman and woman in a dysfunctional, controlling and mildly abusive relationship. We should not be celebrating a book or a movie that promotes the latter as being sexual empowerment. It glamorizes abuse and is a disgusting story that touts itself as a champion of female sexual empowerment, while in reality it forces a woman into submissive roles not just in the bedroom (which by itself isn’t bad, and can be part of a healthy relationship), but in all aspects of the relationship. When submission is forced into all aspects of a woman’s life, it’s no longer healthy sexual expression, and it’s absolutely not empowerment. It’s regressive and sets a terrible example for impressionable young women.

      As to Cinderella. COME ON, an overplayed story about a woman’s “happily ever after” being solely based on prince charming?? Let’s not pretend that just because a woman stars in a film, that the film celebrates female empowerment. In fact, most movies that women star in, don’t celebrate female empowerment in the slightest, with notable exceptions being the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Obvious Child, Hunger Games, Wild, and surprisingly, Frozen (the first disney princess who wasn’t saved by the love of a man, but the love of a sister). But Cinderella is NOT on that list.

      I’m also extremely disappointed with the casting of Cinderella. Another white, blonde princess, how new and exciting!! How about we start changing these stories to fit the gender equality/shifting gender roles and incredible diversity of our time? Otherwise, there’s really NO POINT to remaking a movie like this. It’s been done a million times whether actually as Cinderella, or just another romantic comedy where the beautiful white girl is happy in the end because she ends up with the man of her dreams. We don’t need anymore examples of that kind of regressive nonsense. We need our loves stories to have fully developed women characters of all races, nationalities, ages, gender identifications and sexualities. Who have goals in life other than finding a man; who have real, thoughtful opinions and characteristics, and aren’t just cookie cutter characters made from pulling stereotypes out of a hat, or passive female characters with no real agency in their lives. Women aren’t like that. It’s time for every movie with a woman character to FULLY develop those characters and accurately represent women from all different walks of life.

      • Kat says:

        Well….If she gave in to the control of being dominated over being submissive…that was her choice for dominance and the role she took on….why is everyone always looking for someone else’s way out of their lack of responsibility in anything they choose? ? Did she ask your permission or choose her role? P.S. a submissive has more power than a dominate!! Do a bit of research before you ignorantly post your view!

      • Jennie says:

        “Let’s not pretend that just because a woman stars in a film, that the film celebrates female empowerment.” Perfect – thank you!

    • Jane says:

      Jennie – I had just scrolled down because I felt I HAD to respond to the article’s citing of the Cinderella story and “Fifty Shades of Grey” as celebrating female empowerment – and someone had already done it!! Cinderella, the classic female-as-helpless-victim-waiting-to-be-rescued-cause-she-couldn’t-possibly-help-herself garbage, and the absolute joke that is Fifty Shades, passing off an abusive, controlling boyfriend as “sexy” simply because he’s rich. People may be trying to pass off these sad tales as “stories of female empowerment”, and maybe some people are dumb enough to believe it, but any woman I know thinks it is a complete joke. Seriously out of touch, no kidding.

  25. Kevmac says:

    No offence to Cate, but who really cares?
    If you’re a woman who wants to have sex with another woman, just do it, same goes for men and men.
    ‘coming out’ like this is just a publicity stunt.

  26. DemonizedMan says:

    Cate is right, critical mass has been reached. Most women centric movies in the last year were box office hits, now they have women and gay men and women as the audience. Straight men have been completely demonized and belittled by the new feminism, thanks ladies. If it were up to you girls we would still be a forest societies, since you would never go for wars or build any heavy and large objects, every conceivable invention to make life better for everyone and for women has largely been due to men, yes even movies. Cheers and lets see you run the place with no man to build you your fancy condo’s, internet, and your overpriced Gucci and Prada wear all men.

    • hopeallison says:

      Leslie Knope accurately stated, “You’re ridiculous, and men’s rights is nothing.”

      I think it accurately sums up how every sane, non-sexist human being feels about your comments.

      I have such a hard time believing that a real human being in 2015 would actually have the opinions you’ve expressed. But, maybe you aren’t merely trolling and do actually have these beliefs. If this is truly the way you feel, I’d ask you to spend some time around actual feminists, both men and women. Based on the ancient and inapplicable stereotypes in your comment, I have trouble believing you’ve actually spent any time around real feminists. A real feminist believes in the equality of the sexes; not belittling men. It’s about bringing everyone’s status up to that of a men; not bringing men down to a lower level. And I don’t believe that men have been affected at all by feminism. Men have always had more rights than women and men have never lost any rights because of feminism. Despite feminist efforts, women still don’t have as many rights as men do; we have yet to seek the equality we are striving for. Again, the equality is giving women the same rights and privileges that men have, not taking rights or privileges away from men. Men’s rights are wholly unaffected by feminism, and in fact, may one day have even MORE rights because of feminism (paid paternity leave, being a stay at home father, even gay marriage has roots in feminism, etc.), but men’s rights are NEVER taken away by feminism. That’s why I say that men’s rights are nothing. Men have always had more rights than women, and men have never had their rights taken away. And they will never have their rights taken away. Which is a good thing. The bad thing is that not everyone has those rights, and they should. So we’re just working towards securing those rights for all, women AND men.

      I think the only men being “demonized” are those who dismiss feminism as misandry, and who don’t understand that while the word itself is female oriented, much like the word “mankind” a male oriented word that stands for all of humanity of every gender, it stands for equality for all, regardless of race, gender identification, or sexuality. While there are women who identify as “feminists” that hate men and would rather live in a world without them, they are the extreme, and are misandrists, NOT feminists.

      I’d urge you to do some research, and spend time talking to real feminists to gain a true understanding of what it represents in its true form. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see the distinction between feminism and misandry, and maybe you’ll see that feminism is truly beneficial to both women and men; and that the goal is simply equality, not marginalizing men, or anyone for that matter.

    • Megan says:

      DemonizedMan do you come here from 1930? You realize it’s not acceptable to make sexist comments like the one above, right? How would you mother feel if she heard you say this kind of stuff about women? Quit feeling sorry for yourself and start acting like a real man.

      Also, women can do all the things you mentioned above and more, thanks.

    • smh says:

      Your problem is your attitude. Either your mother didn’t raise you right or you’re a lost cause.

  27. George says:

    ….Nice

  28. Paige Turner says:

    The writer of the article acts as if this lesbian-centric film is the first. “Bound” broke ground years ago… and years before that… “The Children’s Hour…” and so many others.

  29. I agree with Sherberr3. How can any woman feel empowered by becoming a man’s submissive sex slave? In a typical BDSM relationship the woman may be held in high regard, only as long as she completely submits to her ‘dom’ and he finds her sexually satisfying.

    To me, the bigger question about all of this focus on homosexuality is, “How?”

    According to CDC Reports 3.4% of the population identifies as homosexual, bisexual, other, or don’t know [not sure what that is about]. I’d ask you to try something. Find a millennial (someone in early 30’s or younger) and ask them what % of the population is homosexual. I guarantee they will give and answer ranging from 10-40%. How is it that such a small % of the population, become so overly represented in the public arena? How is it that for centuries homosexuality has carried a stigma, but in only the last couple decades society now celebrates it? How is it that there is nary a sit-com or TV show of any kind on TV without at least one homosexual? How is it that people are intrigued by Bruce Jenner’s recent discovery that he identifies as a female and they are not repulsed by the thought of a 65 year old suddenly wanting to submit himself to surgical procedures that will remove his penis?

    How has millennia of genetic, gender, and psychological scientific related facts suddenly redefined? Is it truly based on science? I know the answer, but I am throwing out the question to the readers.

    And, for the record, I am not homophobic. I believe if homosexuals want to enter into a life long commitment together, just like heterosexual couples, they should be allowed the legal equivalent under the law. I am not disgusted or intimidated by homosexuals. I am simply tired of 3.4% of the population forcing homosexuality on me.

    • Kat says:

      I remember telling my mother and father when I was 13 that Bruce Jenner who was in the Olympics was a homosexual and he really wanted to be a woman cuz he looked more feminine than masculine I’m 50 now!! They just washed my mouth out with soap and went on about it I guess…well I guess he is still transgendered and no one can change that…not all the freaking soap they put in my mouth changed that!! :) sincerely bubbles! LOL And there are no more people in the universe forcing homosexuality on you than the masses of the universe forcing heterosexuality on the people that are gay! So get over yourself because nobody wants you to be gay if you’re not so keep being the straight ass hole you are! Seriously!!

    • TheFlash18 says:

      How are they forcing it on you? A gay character in a book, film, or sitcom is not forcing you to watch or partake in gay sex. You claim to not be homophobic, yet you don’t want to live in a world where gay people can be open about themselves because it is “forcing it down your throat” (sounds pretty damn homophobic to me). PS, something like 50 Shades of Grey is ten times more sexually explicit than just about any film with gay content so don’t use the “LGBT media is more sexual” because staristics will show it clearly is not.

    • Robin7 says:

      No, not homophobic, just discriminatory. I look at your comment and it reeks of righteous indignation. And wow, really? ALL 3.4% of the population have actually paid you that much attention, to ‘force’ their sexuality on you?

      But, I am guessing you were referring to homosexuals in your media, on your tv screen, in your magazines etc. Have you ever thought of not reading/watching such things if they are irritating or you deem them offensive????? No one is forcing you to pay that much attention! Everyone has a right to be represented – even you.

      • doc rmc says:

        I am going to accept much of the content as premise – except that I will comment that it’s the Census Bureau that provides such information (other than the Center for Disease Control) – and accept that the 2012 statistics report some 4% of the popn answering as LGBT. I will also submit that figures like 10% are cited for good reason, the least of which that datamined statistics of habit and behavior, rather than polling for response, puts the nos. higher. So, let’s take a generous range of between 4-10%.

        To confine my query to the topic of movies, as is the nature of this article, in 2014, ~700 films hit the domestic box office. Of those, about ~15 were labelled LGBT. If we take a more liberal definition in which there is some, prominent (as opposed to token) LGBT char, then we might push that up to 70 such films. I’m taking these nos. from boxoffice, MPAA, IMDB, Advocate and Out, amongst sources. And, yes, this doesn’t consider tv, int’l, most independent and some other forms of film, but I have harder nos. for these. … but that accounts for 2-10% of film. Quite spot on, really.

        Are you sure they’re rubbing it in your face or you’re watching an awful lot of queer film? It seems like trying.

    • TheFlash18 says:

      How are they forcing it on you? A gay character in a book, film, or sitcom is not forcing you to watch or partake in gay sex. You claim to not be homophobic, yet you don’t want to live in a world where gay people can be open about themselves because it is “forcing it down your throat” (sounds pretty damn homophobic to me). PS, something like 50 Shades of Grey is ten times more sexually explicit than just about any film with gay content so don’t use the “LGBT media is more sexual” because staristics will show it clearly is not.

  30. Sherberr3 says:

    After they called 50 Shade of Grey an example of female empowerment they lost me.

  31. I’m so moist after reading this.

  32. Armando Igari Salazar says:

    Can’t wait to watch this film

  33. You know I am sick of no one having the strength to say they are bisexual. We need icons and role models too. Only a handful of celebrities have the courage to stick to their convictions and say “hey I’m bisexual! Get over it!” And writers? You use some intestinal fortitude yourself. How can we get rid of this horrible stigma dumped on us if no one will even say the darn word! I am #StillBisexual!

    • hopeallison says:

      Proud and loud bisexual woman, right here! It’s a damn shame how marginalized bisexuals are, even in the gay community. People have a hard time accepting that someone could truly be attracted to both sexes. Bisexuality is often dismissed as “not real” by both the straight and gay communities, and the lack of people stepping up and being forthright about their sexuality makes it harder for others to do the same. I’m not a public figure or celebrity, but I do call out people when I hear comments like that, and tell them that I identify as bisexual and that for me, being attracted to both sexes is a reality; not something I do for attention or because I’m “slutty,” but because I can honestly fall in love with a women the same way I can with a man. All we can do is call out ignorance when we see it, and try to correct it. Hopefully more celebrities and public figures will come out as bisexual, helping to remove the stigma.

      But until then, here’s a list of celebrities who are openly bisexual: Megan Fox, Billie Joe Armstrong, Margaret Cho, Clive Davis, Anna Paquin, Megan Mullally (one of my personal comedic heroes), Azealia Banks, Andy Dick, Bai Ling, Carrie Brownstein (another comedic hero of mine), Tila Tequila, Angelina Jolie, Evan Rachel Wood, Amber Heard, Sapphire, Drew Barrymore, Lady Gaga, Frenchie Davis, Vanessa Carlton, Kesha, Fergie, Amber Rose, Cynthia Nixon, Jillian Michaels, and David Bowie.

    • Lindsay says:

      I’m glad to find this comment here! I hear about so-and-so’s “lesbian past” and it really irks me. Attention Earth: There’s a word for someone who has relationships with either sex, and the word is BISEXUAL. Even if they’re married to the opposite sex now, they’re still bisexual. They weren’t gay before but straight now, they’ve been bisexual the whole time.

  34. April Gunn says:

    If it weren’t so frustrating to watch how interviewers like this one will throw out the word “lesbian” as a joke or like it should come with a shock factor but dance around the word “bisexual” when it’s completely applicable, it would almost be hilarious.

  35. Sara says:

    Kocham Cię, Cate!

  36. Seems Cate came out too. At least as bisexual. She says she has had lots of sexual relationships with women. Didn’t see that coming.

    • Amber says:

      She didn’t come out or say she was bisexual.

      “When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. “On film — or in real life?” she asks coyly. Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: “Yes. Many times,” but doesn’t elaborate.”

      And she was likely teasing or being sarcastic as usual.

      • Amber says:

        Teasing OR being sarcastic/dry. This is print, not a recorded interview. Humor doesn’t translate well, especially dry humor. Knowing how Blanchett tends to tease and joke around in interviews, and her dry Aussie humor is normally only detected by listening and/or seeing the demeanor, it might have just been a terse, sarcastic response to “past relationships with women”, particularly also taking into account that she is a relatively private person and dislikes pressing questions on personal life (treating them with jokes and sarcasm).

        I hope, however, I’m not implying that there’s anything wrong with being bisexual (or gay for that matter), or having had past experiences as such. I am only saying that, knowing how she’s conducted herself in the past, throughout the years, and being quite familiar with her humor, I’m inclined to think that is how it went.

        It’s likely someone in media will ask her to clarify this comment, but It’s likely if she responds she does so jokingly or sarcastically.

      • Rachel says:

        Where’s the sarcasm in saying she’s had many past relationships with women? Sounds pretty bisexual to me.

  37. Amber says:

    She’s great. Intelligent, and down to earth woman, and great actress of course. I always look forward to her films.

    I find the interviewer very tacky however.

  38. Stergios says:

    This woman is just a marvel to watch, an acting legend of such towering proportions that creates pure awe everytime she appears on screen. I can’t wait for Carol and I smell another Oscar nomination for her, hopefully another win too.

    • 1stironweed says:

      She may go far with this since homosexuality is trending right now.

      • Stergios says:

        Not sure if she was serious about having relationships with women in the past. She’s known for being sarcastic and maybe she was teasing the journalist there. Even if it’s true, who cares, she’s a brilliant actress and a deeply private person anyway.

  39. Ms. Blanchett is a class act and an icon of our times. Always look forward to her projects!

  40. Magda says:

    Thrilled to see this being adapted into a movie… I’ll be very interested to see how it’s turned out. However, this part of the article literally made me choke on my coffee:

    There has been a string of hits this year that celebrate female empowerment — from … “Fifty Shades of Grey”…

    Wha-huh? I hope that was satire, Variety!!

  41. Joan says:

    She purposefully and explicitly didn’t want to label herself and you go ahead and call this piece “Cate Blanchett lesbian past revealed”? She’s literally married to a man, she’s not a lesbian. LGBTQIA+ has that many letters in it for a reason. Get better at this already, mainstream media. Don’t erase sexual fluidity, queerness or bisexuality, ok? Please and thanks.

  42. Ken / Toronto says:

    Dear Ms. Blanchett: You are a marvel. I don’t know how you do what you do, where your instincts emanate from…whenever I run BLUE JASMINE, I find myself amused, appalled, and heart-broken in equal measures. I am so looking forward to CAROL.

More Film News from Variety

Loading