Ellen Page: "Borderline Offensive" to Call Actors Playing LGBTQ Characters "Brave"
The actress, who came out as gay in 2014 and plays one half of a lesbian couple in the upcoming movie 'Freeheld,' also talks about working to get more stories about minorities' experiences on the big screen.
Ellen Page's new movie Freeheld finds her starring opposite Julianne Moore as one half of a real-life lesbian couple who fought for equal treatment after one of the women, Laurel Hester (Moore), was diagnosed with cancer and government officials prevented her from assigning her pension benefits to her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Page).
The movie, which is set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, hits theaters Oct. 2. But if you're a fan of Page's performance, don't call it "brave," at least not to her face.
"Maybe this is a bad thing to say, but I have a hard time when people call actors brave," Page tells Time magazine in a new interview about the film.
"I don’t really get that, because our job is to read something on a page."
Furthermore, she takes issue with actors being called "brave" for playing LGBTQ characters no matter how rare those parts are or if they might be taking a career risk by doing so.
"When people are [called] brave in regards to playing LGBTQ people, that’s borderline offensive," Page says. "I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be."
She goes on to say that while she'd be "thrilled" to play a heterosexual character if the part "speaks to" her, she'd be equally "thrilled" to play gay characters for the rest of her career, adding "I wish I could, honestly!"
Of her part in Freeheld, which she signed on for before coming out on Valentine's Day 2014 in a speech at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive conference, Page says it was moving to play that character as an out gay woman.
"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," she said.
Page, who's also a producer on Freeheld, adds that she's working on at least two upcoming projects that tell gay stories. And she hopes that more stories about people in the LGBT community or "any minority" will make their way to the big screen.
"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," Page explains. "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."