Chloë Grace Moretz: “Don’t make assumptions about sexuality”
DIVA chats to Chloë Grace Moretz and Desiree Akhavan at the UK screening of The Miseducation Of Cameron Post
Chloë Grace Moretz. INSTAGRAM.
Don’t miss @ChloeGMoretz's bold and courageous performance in #TheMiseducationofCameronPost – “one of the year’s bravest films.” Now Playing Nationwide! Get Tickets at https://t.co/9fQp56UEKB pic.twitter.com/F6lqoW9IXj— The Miseducation of Cameron Post (@campostfilm) August 23, 2018
Adapted by DIVA fave, Desiree Akhavan, from the novel by Emily M. Danforth, Chloë’s titular character is caught kissing her friend Coley on the backseat of a car during their prom night and is subsequently sent away to a gay conversion therapy centre by her religious aunt.
The film won the Grand Jury Prize for drama at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has been described as “[navigating] the troubled culture-war waters with grace, humour and compassion.”
Bumping into Chloë and Desiree at the UK screening on Wednesday, both women were eager to talk about the film’s significance in LGBTQ culture.
“I think perspective is important across the board. Whether it’s a queer story or not, I think we should be giving people who haven’t had their voices heard before the opportunity to tell their stories.”
Director and screenwriter Desiree agreed. “When you never hear these kinds of stories, and then you hear some white man’s half-assed version of it, it’s like, ‘Fuck you!’ That story is never, ever told, why are you the person who should do some research and tell this story? It’s so rare, it’s such a gift to be the person to tell this story, so use that gift wisely.”
She added, “When you never see yourself on screen, it is really disempowering to then see a messed up, inauthentic version of it. Authenticity matters.”
And what about after Jack Whitehall — who identifies as straight — was cast as Disney’s “first openly gay character”?
“I feel very strongly that trans roles should be played by trans actors,” Desiree continued. “Trans people are being persecuted, especially in America. It is dangerous to be a trans woman of colour in that country, and I feel it is very important that those stories are told authentically.
“In terms of actors and my own pursuit of casting these roles, everyone was a teenager and it was not my place to ask their sexuality, nor did I want to. I feel that people make a lot of assumptions about Chloe’s sexuality and that bothers me on a personal level, they should not make assumptions.”
She continued, “It is not their place to look at a young woman who has grown up on camera and say, ‘Give me a little bit more information about your sexuality, I’d like to take more than I already have, having watched you grow since you were five.’
With Jack Whitehall, I don’t know that particular story so I can’t speak to it. I really think it matters, but it’s not a blanket statement I can make that no gay character can be played by a straight actor.
“If they make a shitty version that’s inauthentic and ham-fisted and there are no queer voices involved, that would be a shame. It’s such a delicate case by case decision.”
From an actress’ point of view, Chloë wholly matched Desiree’s beliefs. "Don’t assume. There’s a line in the film where Cameron says, 'I don’t see myself as a homosexual, I don’t really see myself as anything.'
"We’re moving into a future where 12 or 13 year olds don’t speak about gender as a label they were born as. They talk about fluidity, they talk about finding themselves and who they are.
"I think it’s important not to assume that any actor, any person, is who they are, what they are, or try and label them and get them to tell you what you want to hear."
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