Ellen Page asks Hollywood why being gay means she can't play a straight person

Page's comments echo those of Ian McKellen who argued that homophobia was as much of an issue as racism

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Ellen Page has argued that gay actors should be able to play roles of any sexuality. 

The Oscar nominee came out in February 2014 and is regularly asked if she fears pigeonholing after signing up for lots of gay parts. Her response? Hollywood still has “that double standard”.

“Zachary Quinto is out and he stars in one of the biggest blockbuster franchises [Star Trek],” she 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?”

The 28-year-old, best known for Juno, continued: “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 was, in part, motivated to go public with her sexuality after battling to bring gay rights drama Freeheld to cinemas for six years.

The film is released in the UK on 19 February and stars Julianne Moore as a terminally ill detective struggling to pass her pension rights onto her female domestic partner.

Page still finds her “mind blown” by how closely her personal journey mirrored the development of Freeheld. “It felt wildly inappropriate to be playing this character as a closeted person,” she said. “Coming out was a long process, though.”

Page’s comments on Hollywood’s attitudes to gay people echo those made by Ian McKellen recently. The legendary actor weighed into the diversity debate and claimed that homophobia is as much of a problem as racism.

“No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar,” he said. “I wonder if that is prejudice or chance. 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.”

Read the full interview with Page in Elle’s March issue, out on Thursday