Cate Blanchett: I'm not making female or lesbian propaganda

·2-min read

Cate Blanchett's powerful female, gender-fluid and gay roles have helped transform Hollywood, but she told Venice on Thursday that she never sets out to make a political statement.

She won the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival in 2007 for her performance as Bob Dylan, and starred in "Carol", one of the most iconic gay films of recent years.

Her latest role is in "Tar", competing for the Golden Lion in Venice this week, as a renowned lesbian conductor accused of inappropriate liaisons with female colleagues.

But speaking to reporters at the festival, she insisted none of her work was designed as activism.

"I don't see artistic practice as an education tool," she said.

"I'm not interested in agitprop. While there's a lot of hot button topics that come up in this movie, it's not about any of those things -- they're plot devices.

"After the thing is made, it can be politicised, discussed, people can be disgusted with it, offended by it, inspired by it, but that's outside our control."

When she was preparing to make "Tar" with US director Todd Field, she said she "didn't think about the character's gender nor her sex at all".

"I think perhaps we've matured enough as a species that we can watch a film like this and not make that the headline issue.

"It wasn't until we started doing the press and they said, 'You have women at the centre of this' and I thought: 'Oh shit -- yeah, we do!' That didn't cross my mind."

Asked about the position of women in the film industry, Blanchett said things had greatly improved during her career thanks to "female trail-blazing actors... and amazing men alongside us."

But one continuing obstacle is the refusal of big-name male actors to accept smaller roles.

"It's very hard to get our brothers in Hollywood to play supporting roles that we would very happily play in a good story with a good director -- that still is typical," she said.

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