Oscar winning actress and all-around legend Kate Winslet has absolutely torched the film industry in a new interview, slamming the “judgment, discrimination and homophobia” in Hollywood and calling for a reckoning.
The 45-year-old, who stars in the upcoming crime series Mare of Easttown, spoke to the UK’s Sunday Times about Hollywood’s outdated approach to not casting LGBTQ actors to play straight roles, saying it causes queer-identifying actors to remain “in the closet” for fear of ruining their career.
“Hollywood has to drop that dated crap of, ‘Can he play straight because, apparently, he’s gay?’ That should be almost illegal…and it can’t just be distilled to the question about gay actors playing gay parts. Because actors, in some cases, are choosing not to come out for personal reasons.”
Kate Winslet claims to know several actors who fear being “outed” in case it affects their chances of getting straight roles.
“I cannot tell you the number of young actors I know – some well known, some starting out – who are terrified their sexuality will be revealed and that it will stand in the way of their being cast in straight roles.”
Winslet dances around names, of course, because that would defeat all kinds of purposes if she outed these people herself. But she does drop a few hints, saying:
“A well-known actor has just got an American agent and the agent said, ‘I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicise that.’ Kate Winslet adds: “I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful. Because they fear being found out.”
Winslet’s venting came about in the interview promoting her new film Ammonite, in which she plays a woman in a same-sex relationship alongside fellow straight actor Saoirse Ronan. Kate Winslet points out that while she could be seen as “taking that role from somebody [gay]… I know the part was never offered to anybody else.”
Kate Winslet reckons that for Hollywood to change, it’s going to take more people speaking up — kind of like a LGBTQ version of #MeToo. “It needs its own movement,” she says in the Sunday Times interview. “It takes more people to speak the way I am. People are afraid because we live in a world where political correctness is dictating people’s willingness to be upfront.”
She says Hollywood needs to be “more open… for there to be less judgement, discrimination and homophobia.” While she’s absolutely right, she’s also talking about an industry that is very stuck in its decades-old traditions of bigotry, which we’ve also seen playing out around people of colour. While actors and activists taking a stand does help, it’s gonna take a hell of a lot more to turn the tides.