Carol: Sex Scene, Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara

carol_4_blanchettCate Blanchett and Rooney Mara render astonishing, Oscar-caliber performances in Todd Haynes’s exquisitely made 1950s lesbian melodrama, Carol, one of the artistic highlights of the 2015 Cannes Film Fest.

The script, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 scandalous novel “The Price of Salt,” is the rare lesbian love story on the big screen.

“There are 70 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal,” Cate Blanchett said in the press conference, when asked about the increased acceptance of gay rights in the culture.  She added: “We’re living in deeply conservative times.”

Blanchett prepared for the role by reading erotic fiction from the time period, but added that Carol wouldn’t necessarily identify as a lesbian. “Her sexuality is a private affair,” she said.

Tcarol_5_blanchetthe actresses said they weren’t shy about pushing the envelope with the film’s steamy love scene.  While the film contains several embraces and kisses, there is only one scene that depicts graphically the two women in bed, consummating what was up to this point in the story a very subdued and subtle attraction, largely conveyed through looks.

“I’m nude quite often, so it wasn’t a big deal for me,” Mara said, and, indeed, you may recall that she was full frontal in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nod.

Blanchett noted humorously that “a lot of strangers” saw her naked when she gave birth. “It’s an important scene.”

Writer Phyllis Nagy spent 15 years working on the script, as various directors came and went during that time.  “Nothing has changed and everything has changed,” Nagy said. “We can have this movie now.”