Cate Blanchett has opened up about her past relationships in an interview with Vanity Fair for the upcoming film, Carol. Blanchett said she dated women “many” times, without elaborating, and doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal either way.
Carol is a film based off the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. It’s focused on a lesbian relationship during the 1950s, when people could still be jailed or sent to asylums for their sexual orientation.
It arrives at a strange time in Hollywood, when directors seem to be shifting between progressive and regressive.
Though there have been a number of movies with strong female roles in recent memory — Hunger Games and Cinderella to name two — it’s at a time when females are, statistically speaking, being represented less than ever.
In particular, the public still tends to be touchy about same-sex relationships. There have been a few examples of same-sex relationships being open in film and shows before such as Cloud Atlas, the Legend of Korra, Black Swan and the ever famous example of Brokeback Mountain.
Lesbian relationships are even more touché than male ones, for the exact same reason there is female inequality in films in the first place. People are still coming to grips with solid female main characters, and two strong female characters could make audiences more uncomfortable than they’re willing to admit.
Blanchett herself admitted she didn’t even think it would make theatres.
“It was so hard,” she said. “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.”
Director Todd Haynes added, “In some ways, the event of a gay love story is less surprising every day, but I think love stories are hard to pull off, period.”
Set in the 1950s, Carol is based on a woman whose sexuality isn’t politicized or glamourized. “I think there are a lot of people that exist like that who don’t feel the need to shout things from the rafters,” says Blanchett.
If Carol turns out to be as popular as everyone on the team hopes, it could be Blanchett’s seventh Oscar nomination. However, it could also just be another love story that gets swept under the rug and branded another victim of the same-sex relationship curse.
Which ever way it turns out, Carol will hopefully break some ground. Even if there are movie goers who don’t agree with homosexual relationships, there is no doubt that there is something to be admired of a story about two women challenging notions when people didn’t even think or mention gay relationships.
Carol will debut at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17th.