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Progress! Ellen Page Cast in a Straight Role In 'Belushi' (But She's Still Someone's Wife)

by /bent
March 21, 2014 8:18 AM
6 Comments
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Good news for anyone worried that Ellen Page coming out as a lesbian (news which got us quite excited!) would affect her chances of being cast in straight roles. The actress is in talks to play Judith Jacklin, the wife of comedian John Belushi, opposite Emile Hirsch in the indie drama "Belushi".

This strikes us as a small but positive result. Traditionally, Hollywood has shied away from casting openly gay actors in roles where the viewer is required to believe in their attraction to the opposite sex. Of course, audiences take far greater leaps of imagination every time they watch a Hollywood actor in any number of improbable scenarios, so it has always been somewhat baffling and infuriating to see the timidity of studios on this front. Rupert Everett is among those actors to have spoken out on the issue in the past.

So we're glad the makers of "Belushi" have not displayed this same fear and myopia in casting Page opposite Hirsch. But this remains a first step. Firstly, we're not talking about a Hollywood studio, but a small indie production. And secondly, Page has still been cast in what we can only presume, given the film's title and synopsis, is a supporting wife part. That's not the kind of female role that gets us performing cartwheels here at /bent.

What do we *really* want to see? The ideal, naturally, is that actors like Ellen Page can get cast in a variety of lead roles, straight, gay or otherwise, without the need to compare their real-life sexual orientation with that of any fictional character. And that this practice happens across the board, right up to the most enormous studio productions. And that it becomes so commonplace that articles like this aren't required.

But Ellen Page's new $100 million action franchise, where her bisexual spy agent can't decide between Gael Garcia Bernal, Angela Bassett or saving the world, is apparently still in development. So for now, we're going to cheer this week's announcement as one step in the right direction.

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6 Comments

  • charlotte | March 31, 2014 6:32 PMReply

    I´m more interested in whether or not we are ever allowed to see her in a gay role. I´m often wondering why so many straight actors and actresses can play both gay and straight roles, why is it then that gay actors only playing straight ??

  • KobraKai7474 | March 26, 2014 12:06 PMReply

    Considering that number of closeted actors and actresses who played leading men and women to great public acclaim (and at great profit for the studios) for the hundred or so years Hollywood has been making movies, this conversation would be downright funny if it weren't so sad. In any case, Ellen Page, you rock. I am bummed now that I know my multi-year crush on you can never lead to anything, but I still can't wait to see your future work.

  • Jeff | March 24, 2014 2:07 PMReply

    I don't think that lesbian actresses experience quite the same resistance that a gay male actor would. Hollywood still, for the most part, selects stories with Straight male leading voices. Sad.

  • haan | March 22, 2014 1:21 PMReply

    I wonder why no one was on the side of the actors of Blue is the Warmest Color for their being gay characters while being straight in their personal life. Hmm. Just one of those things. Also I love how being a wife to someone is deemed deplorable to showcasing a progressive identity of women. Isn't that kind of shitting on all wives in our country. Maybe we just need some more "husbands" to balance it out instead of making these steel faced non-people that women take as empowering even though they're just playing robots like their male action counterparts prior.

    And she's played straight already. Juno.

  • EllensBANDwagoner | March 22, 2014 3:12 PM

    Sorry to jump aboard but also... The point isn't whether or not she's "played straight" before; the point is that gay actors often worry that they won't be cast in straight roles after they come out. So her role in Juno is irrelevant to this discussion as she hadn't come out when she was cast as that character.

  • ELLENSFUCKBUDDY | March 22, 2014 2:46 PM

    Haan - I'd hope many of the wives you hope to save from this putative scatological shower are not only wives but also women with careers, personalities, other roles in life. The point is that the "wife role" defines them solely as such.

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