A “gray area” Kristen Stewart responded to backlash over her Happiest Season co-star Mackenzie Davis not being gay.
Stewart and Davis star in Hulu’s newest holiday rom-com, Happiest Season, which premiered on November 25. In the film, Stewart plays Abby, a woman who travels to her girlfriend Harper’s (Davis) family’s home in Pittsburgh for Christmas. On the car ride there, Harper tells Abby that she’s not out to her family and they have to pretend to be roommates instead of girlfriends until she tells her parents that she’s gay.
Along with Stewart, Happiest Season also stars out actors Dan Levy and Aubrey Plaza who play Abby’s best friend, John, and Harper’s ex-girlfriend, Riley, respectively. After the movie premiered, fans wondered about Davis’ sexuality. In an interview with Variety on November 23, Stewart confirmed that Davis identifies as straight but that shouldn’t stop her from playing a gay role. “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,” Stewart said. “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.”
The Twilight star also talked about how she believes there’s a “gray area” when it comes to if non-gay actors can play gay characters. “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?” she said. “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.”
She continued, “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.”
After Happiest Season‘s premiere, there have been mixed reactions to Davis being straight. While some viewers believe that Harper should’ve been played by a gay actor, others praised Davis for her performance. “mackenzie davis is the only straight woman allowed to forever play lesbians,” wrote user @sapphiccaitlin. User @moonstiina wrote, “you can tell mackenzie davis is straight irl bc she had more chemistry on screen w that one dude than she did with kstew the whole movie.”
Happiest Season is available to stream on Hulu.
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