It’s no great surprise that Cate Blanchett’s most recent film ‘Carol’ was locked away in Hollywood’s production closet for 15 years given its links to the scandalous 1952 novel “The Price of Salt” – which tells the tale of two lesbian lovers. What is surprising – knowing the cut-throat exposé nature of the industry – is that Blanchett’s history of bisexuality has been kept under wraps until now…Well, Cate – we salute you!
Speaking with Ramin Setoodeh for Variety magazine, Blanchett delves into the issue of gender equality in film – a subject she never shies away from – and her pivotal new film, Carol which premiers at Cannes Film Festival this week. Carol hits our screens at a fitting moment in time for cinema with a spate of female-driven films aiming to empower women this year. Cinderella (in which Blanchett also stars), the final flick in The Hunger Games series, and the upcoming Trainwreck and Spy are leading the way, along with Carol.
Blanchett, 45, plays the leading role of Carol in the eponymous film about a woman who enters into a secret love affair with a female department store assistant (played in the film by Roony Mara). In an unexpected response to Setoodeh’s question as to whether this was her first intimate experience with a woman, Blanchett coyly smirked and asked “On film – or in real life?” Pushing further, Setoodeh asked Blanchett if she’s engaged in relationships with women in the past. Blanchett simply answered, “Yes, many times”. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of that line of questioning!
Cate & husband of 18 years, Andrew Upton. The pair recently adopted daughter, Edith from the United States. Image source: Snapper Media
Blanchett declined to comment further on her own sexual history, but was happy to discuss her character’s. Were there a lot of steamy sex scenes in the movie? Blanchett told Variety, “It’s not ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’. That’s not the ambition of the film.” She did however, prepare for the role by reading “A lot of girl-on-girl books from the period” and hopes that the film will spark more discussion on representation of women in general, and the gay community in global cinema. Indeed, Brokeback Mountain debuted 10 years ago, but Hollywood – for all its self-proclaimed acceptance and inclusivity – really hasn’t caught up with societal advances.
Image source: Snapper Media
Despite this, high-profile actresses like Blanchett are continuing to drive the awareness and, hopefully the change. Blanchett says she’s hopeful things will change now that “there’s been a critical mass of women who have reached a certain place in the industry.” But adds, “I want it to not be discussed anymore, but it needs to be discussed”, she tells Variety. Blanchett reveals that financing this film was difficult, and was a major reason it sat on the shelf for so long after she signed up for the role. She explains, “Midrange films with women at the centre are tricky to finance. There are a lot of people labouring under the misapprehension that people don’t want to see them, which isn’t true.”
Blanchett hopes that Carol will break through to a wider audience as well as shatter the misconceptions in Hollywood about female-centric films. Indeed, if Carol does appeal to audiences it could mean a seventh Oscar nomination for Blanchett – who has already won two Academy Awards for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.
Carol will compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
Share your thoughts on Cate Blanchett’s revelations about her bisexuality and tell us what you think of the lack of representation of female-driven films in Hollywood in the comments below…