Actor Kate Winslet says she knows many gay actors in Hollywood who are scared of coming out as they fear it will prevent them from getting heterosexual characters. The Oscar-winner called the notion that gay actors can’t play straight characters “dated”, and said it should be criminalised.
“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. Now that’s f***ed up,” Winslet told The Sunday Times.
Winslet, who earned critical acclaim for playing a lesbian character in period drama Ammonite, currently stars in HBO miniseries Mare of Easttown, where she plays the role of a small town detective.
Winslet, known for films like Titanic, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, star said she knows a “well-known” actor, who just got a new agent, and that agent told the client, “I understand you are bisexual. I wouldn’t publicise that.”
“I can think of at least four actors absolutely hiding their sexuality. It’s painful because they fear being found out. And that’s what they say, ‘I don’t want to be found out’,” she said.
The 45-year-old actor believes it is harder for men to come out in Hollywood as they fear not getting good roles. The notion that gay actors can’t play straight characters, she said, “should be almost illegal”.
“You would not believe how widespread it is. 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. And it’s nobody’s business,” Winslet said, hoping that young actors feel safer about their careers, irrespective of their sexual orientation.