Cate Blanchett reveals 'many' past relationships with women

Cate Blanchett

Actor hints at lesbian experiences while promoting Carol, Todd Haynes’ period drama co-starring Blanchett and Rooney Mara as her younger lover

Cate Blanchett has spoken about her “many” past relationships with women while promoting her new film, Carol, a lesbian love story co-starring Rooney Mara.

In an interview with Variety magazine ahead of the film’s premiere at Cannes on 17 May, Blanchett was asked if playing the title role in the Todd Haynes-directed period drama was her first turn as a lesbian.

“On film – or in real life?” the actor responded. Pressed on whether she had ever had a relationship with a woman, Blanchett told the interviewer: “Yes. Many times.”

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s romance novel, The Price of Salt, Carol is set in a 1950s New York department store where an older married woman (Blanchett) falls in love with a younger shop-girl (Mara). It is not the first time Blanchett has starred in a Highsmith adaptation – she was part of the ensemble cast for Anthony Minghella’s 1999 thriller, The Talented Mr Ripley.

Blanchett told Variety she had read “a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period” to prepare for the role and “talked a lot about erogenous zones” with the film’s costume designer Sandy Powell. “We asked: ‘what is the most erotic part of the body?’” she said.

“I think there are a lot of people that exist like [Carol] who don’t feel the need to shout things from the rafters,” Blanchett said of her character, adding that the film was similarly discreet. “It’s not Blue is the Warmest Colour,” she insisted.

The Australian actor is married to Andrew Upton and is the mother of three sons and a daughter, Edith, whom the couple adopted earlier this year. Upton is currently artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company, where a play about Highsmith, Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland, premiered recently to great acclaim before opening at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, starring Laura Linney.

The couple plan to relocate their family to America when Upton’s STC tenure ends in late 2015.

Questioned by Variety about the current debate in Hollywood over equal pay and representation for women, Blanchett noted “a critical mass of women who have reached a certain place in the industry” including Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and her Australian contemporary Nicole Kidman.

“We have to push forward,” said the actor, who believes progress is being made. “What industry has parity pay for women? None. Why would we expect this industry to be any different?”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nancy Groves, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 13th May 2015 08.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010