Joel Edgerton is shaping up to be one of the stealthiest ballers of the industry. Not only has he been dropping multiple high-caliber performances in films such as Midnight Special, Loving and It Comes At Night without breaking a sweat, he is also shaping up to be a member of a very select club of actors who can actually direct.
After the positive reception of chilling thriller The Gift, in which he starred with Rebecca Hall (Starter for 10, Parade’s End) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Bad Words), he bided his time to find the perfect sophomore project and he’s picked a doozy. Edgerton will write and direct Boy Erased, based on the memoir by Garrard Conley, the son of a Baptist pastor who was outed to his parents and forced to undergo conversion therapy. Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) will play Garrard, with Nicole Kidman (Dogville) and Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) in talks for supporting roles, which I assume to be Garrard’s parents (I can certainly see Crowe bellowing from a pulpit, dousing his poor parishioners in spittle).
Distributors such as Annapurna, Focus Features, Netflix and Amazon are already clawing at one another to land Boy Erased, which will begin filming this fall and presumably be positioned as an awards contender for 2018. Hopefully the film will pull back the veil on a certain hateful and and shameful subset of twisted belief in America, with people no longer being able to hide their heads in the sand regarding how institutions of faith abuse those who they label as “sinners.” With two Oscar winners and a Supporting Actor nominee who have a reputation for deftly handling complex and emotionally draining material, this film is going to donkey-kick audiences’ hearts. I predict major ugly-crying happening in the theaters, deservedly so.