Elliot Page says he 'collapsed' at an Inception after-party over gender pressures
Elliot Page has opened up about intense, gender-related pressures that deeply impacted him behind the scenes, while starring in Hollywood blockbusters.
Page sat down with Oprah Winfrey for the latest episode of The Oprah Conversation and detailed some of the struggles he dealt with prior to revealing he is transgender in December 2020. Recounting one major incident, the Umbrella Academy star shared a heartbreaking moment that occurred during the global press campaign for Inception that took him around the world.
The actor had just told Winfrey that he began to experience periods in his life where, "it was becoming way too detrimental for my mental health to wear feminine clothing," and the host followed up by asking about what life was like while promoting his big films.
Page said it was during the press tour for Inception -- on the Paris leg of the campaign -- that the actor's manager surprised him with three dress options after he already had one selected. "And I just like, I like, I lost it," Page said. "It was like a cinematic moment, you know, the kind of like thing that would be in a movie… And that night, after the premiere, and at the after-party, I collapsed and that was something that's happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack."
"And yeah, I'm sure the two corollate and that whole period correlates," Page continued of what his life was like in private. "But ultimately, of course, it's every experience you had since you were a toddler – saying, the way you're sitting, that's not ladylike; the way you're walking, you're walking like a boy; the music you're listening to as a teenager, obviously, the way you dress, like, every single aspect of who we are, you know, constantly being looked at and put in a box, in a very binary system. And that all, you know, that's what it leads to."
Winfrey asked Page if he knew he was trans at that time, but hadn't yet acknowledged it yet himself.
"I think it really is – it is a combination of the two. For so long I didn't have much language or information," he said.
Earlier in the interview, Winfrey brought up the awards season campaign for Juno, which Page received an Oscar nomination for. Winfrey, who interviewed Page back then, asked the actor what the Oscar experience was like at the time – bringing up recent a comment the star made about not being able to look at photos from that red carpet.
"That was a pretty intense time and I remember it felt so impossible to communicate with people how unwell I was because obviously there is so much excitement," Page said. "The film unexpectedly became a big hit. I became quite known, your financial situation, you know, all these things. And I felt like I almost couldn't express just the degree of pain I was in. So, the Oscars for example, I could not look at a photo from that red carpet. And again, people might watch this and be like, 'Oh my gosh, this person is crying over the night that they went to the Oscars.' And I think that, again, prevents the ability to allow yourself to not just feel the pain, to reflect on the pain, to even begin to sit down and start to bring it all up, and finally, you know, confront all of that."
In addition to the Winfrey interview, which is available to watch on Apple TV+ now, he also shared his story in an interview with Time magazine, which recently featured Page on the cover.
"I'm really excited to act, now that I'm fully who I am, in this body," Page told Time. "No matter the challenges and difficult moments of this, nothing amounts to getting to feel how I feel now."