Cate Blanchett defends straight actors playing LGBT characters in Hollywood

Cate Blanchett has defended the use of straight actors to play LGBT+ characters.

The actress, who played a lesbian in the 2015 film Carol, said she doesn’t believe an actor needs to share an experience with a character to form a connection with them.

Speaking at the Rome Film Festival, she said: “It also speaks to something that I’m quite passionate about in storytelling generally, but in film specifically, which is that film can be quite a literal medium.

“And I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience. I think reality television and all that that entails had an extraordinary impact, a profound impact on the way we view the creation of character.

Cate Blanchett played the leading role in Carol in 2015

“I think it provides a lot of opportunity, but the downside of it is that we now, particularly in America, I think, we expect and only expect people to make a profound connection to a character when it’s close to their experience,” she added, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Earlier this year, Scarlett Johansson quit upcoming film Rub & Tug, after anger at her casting as a transgender man.

The Avengers star sparked outrage by agreeing to take on the role of real-life trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in Rub & Tug.

LGBT activists had hit out at the film for casting the Hollywood star instead of a transgender actor, given the lack of opportunities for trans stars.

Scarlett Johansson accepted then withdrew from the role of real-life trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in Rub & Tug (VALERIE MACON/Getty)

Johansson was initially defensive of the film, telling people upset by the decision to contact Jeffrey Tambor and Jared Leto – both of whom also controversially played trans people on screen – for comment.

However the actress later confirmed that she will step back from the project.

In a statement to Out magazine, she said: “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.

“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realise it was insensitive.”