Since coming out publicly in 2014, tiny Canadian actress Ellen Page has been an activist for LGBTQA rights, speaking out about her own struggles with self-acceptance, and tussling with Presidential wannabe/dopey bigot Ted Cruz. With the upcoming drama Freeheld, her vocation and advocation will dovetail. But don’t call her “brave” for that.
Based on real events, Freeheld has Page and Julianne Moore playing a gay couple who have to fight for the pension rights straight couples are entitled to.
While talking to Time about the drama that’s being eyed as an award season contender, Page rejected being called “brave” for daring to play a gay character. She responded:
Maybe this is a bad thing to say, but I have a hard time when people call actors brave. I don’t really get that, because our job is to read something on a page….When people are [called] brave in regards to playing LGBTQ people, that’s borderline offensive. I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be. It’s hard to say this, because the context of the film is so deeply tragic, but for me there was a deep sense of peace on set that I had not felt in a really long time, potentially since I was a teenager and first having these really beautiful, fortunate moments in films. There was something about being out, getting to play a gay character, and getting to play a woman who is so inspiring to me—it was such an amazing experience for me. Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled. I wish I could, honestly!”
Perhaps the solution to this “brave” nonsense is just more diversity. Page is working on that personally, classifying her next two projects as “gay” including the Vice series Gaycation, which led to her Cruz confrontation. Page wants more diversity, better representation across the board, explaining:
That’s obviously the huge issue, particularly for the LGBT community, but any minority. Native American and Native Canadian people: Where are these stories? I want to see these stories! And I’m hoping the shift is going to come really quick now. It’s evident from what people are watching on television that people want diversity. They want it. Whether they consciously know it or not, I’m not sure, but look at Orange is the New Black. You’re seeing actors that, if that show didn’t exist, we might not have ever seen—that are extraordinary. It makes me excited because the whole reason to go to a film is to disappear into another world, and to have your humanity connect with someone else’s, who you might not ever meet in your life! To be moved and have more compassion, that’s the wonderful thing all art can do, and particularly film! I want to see gay stories, of course, because I’m gay, and I want to connect to a reflection of my life on film. But I also want to see what it’s like to be a young Native person, African-American, African-Canadian. Hopefully that will keep changing.
I recommend reading the full Time interview. Page is one sharp cookie.
Freeheld opens October 2nd.
Kristy Puchko lives in
perpetual fear that ice cream will become self-aware New York City.