Sarah Paulson, who's currently killing it in American Horror Story: Hotel and will be seen in the upcoming Carol, has never been shy about expressing who she is. Has she had relationships with men? Has she had relationsips with women? Oh, you betcha. However, she often confounds peoples expectations, and particularly those within the LGBT commnity, when she refuses to lable, or let other people define, her sexuality.
On the eve of Carol's release, Paulson was interviewed by Pride Source and reflected on her accidental coming out experience, the ongoing debate whether actors need to be gay in order to play gay, and, above all, held her ground in her convictions over who she is.
On Carol and how people assume Cate Blanchett must have had relationships with women in order to portray a lesbian:
Is anyone asking George Clooney what he likes about having sex with a woman? Nobody does. It's a foregone conclusion that it's just an acceptable reality and nobody thinks to bother to ask. But you have a story about two women together or two men together and all of a sudden it becomes fair game and assumptions are made that are just never made in the reverse, and I just think it's terribly unfair.
Why is anyone making assumptions about anything about anybody's life? It's a funny thing when actors complain, like, "I didn't ask for this; I just wanted to act." Well, in a perfect world we'd all just be able to act and none of this would be part of it, but it is a part of it—this is part of it—and on some level, it comes with the territory. But on another level, you can be responsible and you can control what you will talk about and what you won't talk about. Either you live your life in a very private way or you don't, and I never have done that—ever—and I won't do it going forward. I also won't serve it up on a platter for someone to feast on, because it's mine.
Sarah Paulson in 'Carol'
On the aftermath of coming out:
The truth of the matter is, it was early enough in my career that there have been no attachments made to me as a performer. I think the thing that makes it somewhat easier in terms of there not having been ramifications is that I'm a character actress—nobody is assigning a particular kind of sexual anything to me, I don't think...it just seems if you're sort of known for being a sex kitten...then you end up being a total femme fatale actress, and then all of a sudden you make a statement about your sexuality, it becomes news. Whereas I'm a character actress; I can do a lot of things. I don't think anybody's made one particular association with me that would then make them go, "Well, I can't see her this way now."
On the Queen, Jessica Lange:
The whole reason I'm on the show, really, is because of Jessica. I had been at a dinner for Project Angel Food where Jessica was presenting an award to someone and (show creator) Ryan (Murphy) was there...Jessica leaned over to Ryan and said, "Can't you find something for Sarah to do on the show?"... So, I did it, and that's how it all started.
We always shared a trailer...for three years straight...so I miss having her around because she was my friend - she is my friend. That part isn't so fun, but I think Lady Gaga is bringing a really wonderful kind of new energy to it—just different energy. It's not better energy. It's a different energy, and I think it's really wonderful.
Carol opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles Nov. 20.