To call Freeheld a passion project for Ellen Page might be under-selling it. The 28-year-old actress has been attached to the gay-rights drama since just after her breakout role in Juno seven years ago, and she recently told Out magazine that the film inspired her to come out as a lesbian last year.
“I remember thinking, ‘Ellen, how in God’s name could you make this film and not be out?'” Page said about Freeheld, which is based on the true story of a lesbian couple fighting a legal battle for domestic-partner rights in New Jersey. Julianne Moore plays Laurel Hester, a police detective who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and isn’t permitted to pass her pension benefits to her partner, Stacie Andree (Page).
Page told Out that Hester and Andree’s story “really did make me go, Dude, just tell people you’re gay. Just get over yourself, honestly, and support those who are not as privileged. It’s like, You have f—ing privilege, so do something with it.”
Moore added that she learned a lot from her costar. “I don’t think I was aware of how painful it is to be closeted,” she said. “I have the advantage of being a person who’s never had to hide my sexuality, so I asked [Page] a lot of questions — frank questions — about what that feels like. She said she felt discomfort simply wearing all these dresses, and it was all very eye-opening for me. She was so unprotective [of herself] — I was very touched by that. It definitely made me more sensitive to the nuances of our movie.”
Page announced that she is gay during a speech at the inaugural Time to Thrive conference in Las Vegas in February 2014.
The actress, who is also a producer on Freeheld, recently told EW, “the feeling of being out and playing someone who’s gay, and someone whose courage has allowed me to live my life, that feels amazing. People like Laurel and Stacie are the reason I feel so happy in my life now.”
Read Page and Moore’s full interview on the Out website. Freeheld opens Oct. 2.
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