Posted On 11 Sep 2019
Actress and producer Ellen Page, who came out as a lesbian in 2014, said during an interview on Monday that she would be “thrilled” to exclusively play queer roles for the rest of her career.
While on a panel at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, Page, who recently made her directorial debut with the documentary “There’s Something in the Water,” was asked whether industry acceptance for LGBTQ people has evolved since she began working.
Page, 32, acknowledged that progress has been made but added, “There’s just so far to go.” She said because she often plays LGBTQ characters, she often gets asked whether she’s “worried about being typecast.”
“You would never ask a heterosexual actress that, as being typecast as straight,” Page said. “Why would I not want to play those roles? Quite frankly, I would be thrilled if it’s every role I ever played again!”
Page recently portrayed Shawna Hawkins, a pansexual novelist, in the Netflix series “Tales of the City.” Prior to that, she played Vanya Hargreeves on Netflix’s “Umbrella Academy,” a character many fans intuit as gay, though she is introduced as a straight character. Page also appeared as herself in the Viceland documentary “Gaycation,” which shows the actress traveling and celebrating LGBTQ culture globally.
A double standard regarding queer and straight actors and the roles they pursue persists in Hollywood and is best demonstrated by the “gay for pay” phenomenon — where straight actors are cast more often for LGBTQ roles than queer actors.
In the last 25 years, several straight actors have even gone on to win Oscars for their portrayals of LGBTQ characters, including Sean Pean, who won the Academy Award for best actor in 2009 for his representation of the gay rights activist Harvey Milk in “Milk.” Yet no openly gay actor has won the Oscar for best actor.
Beyond the differing reception of gay and straight actors who play queer roles, Page also added she felt pressure to hide her sexuality as an actress due to lack of industry acceptance.
“I came out when I was 27 years old. Like, what? I wasn’t talking about who I was and being my authentic self because I was an actress in Hollywood,” said Page, who married the choreographer and dancer Emma Portner last year. “That’s absurd. We need to look at these things as absurd.”