Esteemed British actress Janet McTeer, who is up for Independent Spirit Award and Golden Globe honors for her performance in “Albert Nobbs,” is delighted that she and her character are being embraced by the gay and lesbian community.
“I think it’s awesome,” says the 6’1″ Tony winner and OBE, who wanted her character to be markedly different from Glenn Close’s titular character in the film. (Warning: the following three paragraphs contain spoilers.) Albert Nobbs is a woman in 19th century Ireland who took on a male persona in order to get a job and get off the streets, and has lived as a man for 30 years. Her path crosses with that of McTeer’s Hubert, who also turns out to be a woman passing as a man.
“Albert is very different from Hubert. With Albert, you’re not sure if he’s gay, straight or whatever, and I’m not sure Albert knows. Albert is a damaged human being. What I very much wanted to portray with Hubert is someone spectacularly happy and at peace being themselves,” says McTeer. And she did. Hubert, who is happily married, comes off as “a bloke you’d like for a neighbor, or someone you want to go out and have a pint with, and still retains these lovely feminine qualities.”
She’s been told that, “The lesbians and the crossdressers and the transsexuals are all going to want to claim you.’ And I said, ‘Good, because they can all claim Hubert. Hubert is someone I think of as both a he and a she….I really wanted to play a character like that — one who doesn’t explain herself, doesn’t feel the need to justify herself. I can’t bear labels. I couldn’t give a —- about anyone’s sexuality unless I want to sleep with them myself.”
Right now, McTeer and Close are busy working together again — as opposing (female) attorneys who have a history — on the final season of Close’s “Damages.” McTeer jokes that they’re in each other’s contracts nowadays. They’ll be breaking from series production on the East Coast to head to Hollywood for the Jan. 15 Golden Globes — where Close is up for Best Actress and Best Original Song. They’re each up for Screen Actors Guild Awards, too. And they’re considered by many to be shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.