Maria Bello on Getting Work After Coming Out: ‘I Am Proud of Our Hollywood Community’

Actress and author talks show business response to evolving identities, working in major franchises

Maria Bello has been an indie movie queen, a shadowy TV detective, a charitable pioneer and now, she’s working full-time at being herself.

Bello’s “Whatever…Love Is Love,” a memoir currently on shelves, is a project that further clarifies her December 2013 revelation to the New York Time that she’s in a relationship with a woman — and permanently avoiding labels.

Toasting the book’s release at Ray Azoulay’s high-end furniture boutique Obsolete in Los Angeles, Bello welcomed friends like Marcia Gay Harden and manager John Carrabino, and spoke with TheWrap about her reception in the industry since coming out. The award-winning actress also discussed pivoting from indies to Young Adult franchises and more.

TheWrap: The book is quite an expansion on your New York Times piece. Were you nervous about the reception, how has it been? 
Maria Bello: I have to say it’s overwhelming. It’s unexpected. Because I see how, more and more, over the last couple of weeks, and months, how much the media has been talking about the labels we give ourselves and other people. We’re reclaiming those labels. If we look at the day my book came out, was the day of the Supreme Court and they were voting for marriage equality, and then Bruce Jenner comes out as this amazing beauty.

Talk about reclaiming yourself.
And there are 51 new definitions on Facebook for gender orientation, and you just start to think “What is this?” and you start to ask questions. My book is about asking questions.

How has it been for you to be in this business, when you go to audition rooms, when you go to pitch projects? Is there more or less interest? Any consistency? 
I have to say, the movies that I have done in the last year [the anticipated “Max Steel,” and Sony’s YA blockbuster franchise hopeful “The 5th Wave”], the quality of the people that I am working with, the directors and the things that I am being offered… it makes me so proud of our community that they would be open to ‘whatevers.’ I think we are all whatevers — we are all a bunch of gypsies in this community. And when people say “Hollywood, oh we are so pretentious,” I say 99% of Hollywood, they are the greatest most open people you will ever meet. I am proud of our Hollywood community.

The new movies are a bit of a deviation for you. You’ve done indies, bigger hits, led a TV show. Do you have a preference?
I like both, but I have to say, because I have a 14-year-old son, I’ve seen every ‘Furious’ movie — five, seven — and I was so moved. I bawled my eyes out to my 14-year-old son. He was like “Mom, stop crying! Stop embarrassing me!” I thought it was such a beautiful send off. I like franchises, and I like independent films. I like both.

Bello confirmed she’s planning to write a non-fiction follow-up, but would not confirm the subject matter.