Lisa Ray on Playing it Gay… Twice

 

Canadian film star Lisa Ray stars in two of this year’s lesbian-themed films but watch closely or you just might not recognize the stunning actress who disappears so seamlessly into her roles. In director Shamim Sarif’s cross-cultural, lesbian-themed romantic comedy I Can’t Think Straight, in theaters Nov. 21, Ray plays Tala, a free-spirited intellectual Londoner of Jordanian heritage who falls for co-star Sheetal Sheth’s Leyla, a British-born Indian writer.

But Ray also retreats into her role in Sarif’s The World Unseen, released earlier this month. In that film Ray portrays Miriam, a repressed housewife in Apartheid-era South Africa, who’s lifted, however momentarily, out of the binds of her abusive husband and familial obligations by the free-thinking, men’s’ clothes sporting Amina, also played by Sheth. In both films with Sarif and Sheth, Ray excavates the underpinnings of culturally forced repression with varying degrees smoldering nuance.

Already an international success, Ray, whose parents are of Polish and Bengali descent, cemented her appeal in acclaimed director Deepa Mehta’s heart-rending study of Indian widows confined to a life of self-denial in the 2005 Oscar-nominated Best Foreign Language film, Water. Her other projects include the CBS mini-seriesThe Summit and the upcoming noir Kill Kill Faster Faster.

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