Ellen Page has accused Hollywood of double standards on homosexuality, arguing that she should be able to play roles of any sexuality despite having recently come out as gay.
The Oscar-nominated star of Juno and Hard Candy said she had been asked if she feared becoming pigeonholed after signing up for a number of gay-themed roles over the past two years. However, she also conceded that Hollywood was slowly improving in its attitudes to diversity.
“Zachary Quinto [of Star Trek fame] is out, and he stars in one of the biggest blockbuster franchises,” the 28-year-old Canadian actor told Elle magazine. “I have four projects coming up – all gay roles. People ask if I’m concerned about getting pigeonholed. No one asks: ‘Ellen, you’ve done seven straight roles in a row – shouldn’t you shake it up and do something queer?’
“There’s still that double standard. I look at all the things I’ve done in movies: I’ve drugged a guy, tortured someone, become a roller-derby star overnight. But now I’m gay, I can’t play a straight person?”
Page said her six-year battle to bring gay rights drama Freeheld to the big screen had informed her decision to come out in February 2014. “It was part of it,” she said. “What blows my mind is how my own personal journey paralleled the development of that movie. It felt wildly inappropriate to be playing this character as a closeted person. Coming out was a long process, though.”
Page’s comments come after Ian McKellen said on Monday that homophobia was as much of an issue in Hollywood as racism. McKellen expressed sympathy with black actors angry at the Academy’s failure to nominate a single actor from a black or ethnic minority background for an Oscar for a second year running, but he said the issue was a wider one.
“No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance,” said the 76-year-old two-time nominee. “My speech has been in two jackets … ‘I’m proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar.’ I’ve had to put it back in my pocket twice.”
Ellen Page’s full interview appears in the March issue of Elle UK, on sale Thursday.