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kristen stewart says her queerness is stopping her from getting big movie roles

What’s a girl gotta do? Tone down the gay, apparently.

by Douglas Greenwood
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03 September 2019, 11:53am

Still of Kristen in 'Lizzie'

Can’t we just let people live? Let them love who they love, be proud of it, and not let such a minor thing be a deciding factor in whether or not they’re cut out to do their job? As it turns out -- nope! Apparently we’re still struggling to reckon with the idea of queer actors having a presence in popcorn movies. And Kristen Stewart claims to have proof of it.

In her latest cover story for Harper’s Bazaar UK, the César-winning actor relayed stories of how her queerness intersected with the kind of roles big Hollywood producers thought she could play. "I have fully been told, 'If you just like, do yourself a favour and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie’,” she told the magazine’s Contributing Editor Sophie Elmhirst. "I don’t want to work with people like that,” she added. “Literally, life is a huge popularity contest."

Think K-Stew, famed graduate of one of the biggest young adult movie franchise spin-offs on the planet, is capable of getting whatever role she wants? Well, you’d be right: on paper, she’s more than qualified to slip into the shoes of just about any character you could imagine. But as her comments suggest, there are barriers that exist that stop people from being attached to big-budget projects with lots at stake. While we assume that we live in a liberated cultural landscape, where diversity is a key selling point, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests that this only works on the industry sidelines.

The big players and money-makers are distinctly one-dimensional: the ‘Marvels’ of the world seem to favour predominantly heteronormative narratives, or queerness in small doses. Sure, we’re yet to see how Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie -- a character in the studio’s Thor franchise -- fares as the series’ first out LGBTQ+ superhero, but considering their track record of trying and failing in the past, we’re hoping they give Tessa the chance to decide her character’s life trajectory a little.

Still, we don’t think such fickle attitudes matter much to Kristen, who’s got a much wider, pleasant perspective on the world right now. "I just think we’re all kind of getting to a place where -- I don’t know, evolution’s a weird thing -- we’re all becoming incredibly ambiguous," she told Harper’s Bazaar UK. "And it’s this really gorgeous thing."