By Dana Rose Falcone
May 13, 2015 at 03:34 PM EDT

Cate Blanchett stars in Carol, a lesbian romance that premieres at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17. And like the title character, Blanchett told Variety she’s had relationships with women. “Yes. Many times,” she said. Carol never comes out as a lesbian in the movie, and similarly, Blanchett doesn’t fancy herself one for labels. “I never thought about it,” she said. “I don’t think Carol thought about it.”

Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt, stars Blanchett as a 1950s New Yorker who begins a passionate romance with a young store clerk, played by Rooney Mara. Between struggles in obtaining funding and numerous directors dropping out, the film has been in the works for 15 years. But Carol finally filmed last April with Todd Haynes at the helm.

Blanchett hopes the female-driven story will empower women to continue taking charge in front of and behind the camera. “We have to push forward,” Blanchett said. “What industry has parity pay for women? None. Why would we expect this industry to be any different?” The Australian actress herself recently portrayed the evil stepmother in Cinderella and earned two Academy Awards for her roles in The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.

At the end of the day, Blanchett believes “People want to see good films,” and she hopes that’s what Hollywood continues to make, regardless of gender.

“I want [gender equity] to not be discussed anymore,” Blanchett says. “But it needs to be discussed.”

Last year, after winning Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, Blanchett made a similar plea to Hollywood for equality during her acceptance speech.

“And thank you to… those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences. They are not,” she said. “Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”

For the full interview with Blanchett, head to Variety.