Kristen Stewart took a break from her indie French films to star in the new queer Christmas comedy, Happiest Season. In the movie, Kristen’s character is forced to act straight during the holidays when her girlfriend brings her home and lets her know that she hasn’t come out to her family. I know, we’ve never seen that one before. While plugging the film to Variety, Kristen was asked her thoughts on whether queer actors should be the ones playing queer characters (after so many years of straights “bravely” playing gay).
This was her essay of an answer, via Variety:
I think about this all the time. Being somebody who has had so much access to work, I’ve just lived with such a creative abundance. You know, a young white girl who was straight and only really was gay later and is, like, skinny — do you know what I’m saying? I so acknowledge that I’ve just gotten to work.
I would never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who’s lived that experience. Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law. I think it’s such a gray area. There are ways for men to tell women’s stories, or ways for women to tell men’s stories. But we need to have our finger on the pulse and actually have to care. You kind of know where you’re allowed. I mean, if you’re telling a story about a community and they’re not welcoming to you, then fuck off. But if they are, and you’re becoming an ally and a part of it and there’s something that drove you there in the first place that makes you uniquely endowed with a perspective that might be worthwhile, there’s nothing wrong with learning about each other. And therefore helping each other tell stories. So I don’t have a sure-shot answer for that.
Whew! So… she’s saaaaying… it’s a gray area? And we should care? Kristen also acknowledges that her co-star, Mackenzie Davis, isn’t gay:
I will say, Mackenzie is not somebody who identifies as a lesbian. She was the only person in my mind that could have played this with me. Sometimes, artfully speaking, you’re just drawn to a certain group of people. I could defend that, but I’m sure that somebody with a different perspective could make me feel bad about that — and then make me renege on everything I’ve just said. I acknowledge the world that we live in. And I absolutely would never want to traipse on someone else’s opportunity to do that — I would feel terrible about that.
So my answer is fucking think about what you’re doing! And don’t be an asshole.
Mackenzie Davis also starred in the Black Mirror‘s “San Junipero”, that ep about star-crossed eighties lesbians. So, like Cate Blanchett, Rachel Weisz, and Natasha Lyonne before her, she may be campaigning to be the next non-queer queer icon. And speaking of But I’m a A Cheerleader’s Natasha Lyonne, legendary lesbian of film and television, Clea DuVall, both directed and co-wrote Happiest Season. Kristen’s character is based on her. Gay actors Dan Levy and Victor Garber also co-star.
Happiest Season comes out on Hulu tomorrow, and I’ll definitely watch. I love a good coming out story. As a teenager, they were my Blockbuster go-tos. Especially the Canadian ones: Mambo Italiano, C.R.A.Z.Y., Better Than Chocolate, and that one where Kyle McLachlan plays Cary Grant. And as for Kristen’s official answer of “fucking think about what you’re doing” on straights playing gays, that’s good advice. I think we all said that to the person who made the decision to cast her as Princess Diana.