Ellen Page: It’s “Offensive” To Call Actors “Brave” For “Playing LGBTQ People”
Ellen Page says its “borderline offensive” when actors are called “brave” for “playing LGBTQ people.”
The openly-gay actress makes the comment in an interview with TIME about her new movie Freeheld. Page stars as the real-life Stacie Andree, who, along with her terminally-ill partner Laurel Hester (portrayed by Julianne Moore), fought for equal benefits rights for gay couples. When the interviewer says that Page’s performance in the film is the “sort… people tend to call ‘brave,'” she gives an interesting response.
“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,” says the star.
Page delves deeper when it’s noted since “there really aren’t many movies about LGBTQ people… it makes it more likely that actors are seemingly taking a career risk by appearing in one.” She responds, “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.”
Going on to admit that she’d be “thrilled” to exclusively play only “gay characters” going forward, Page notes, “I have two [upcoming projects] that are… ‘gay.’ That’s even a pain to have to call it that, but it’s about two people of the same sex. I’m interested in these stories.”
“Needless to say, I’m thrilled to play a character who’s heterosexual, if it speaks to me. But I’m gay, so when I get to sit in a theater and watch Blue Is the Warmest Color, what an utter joy that is,” she says, explaining, “Because you’re getting to watch something that’s at least close to something you’ve experienced as a gay woman. It’s probably more selfish.”
And when it’s pointed out that some films are pigeonholed as “gay movies” or “black movies,” Page argues:
“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.”
Page, who says she was “very, very, very closeted” when she signed on to do Freeheld several years ago, goes on to reveal that her decision to come out last year was partially motivated by guilt. “It’s become kind of a moral imperative to speak up,” she says. “I know there’s been so much progress, but there’s still so much suffering in America, in Canada, and all over the world.”
The movie star further acknowledges that she was “depressed” before coming out, something that seemingly changed instantly. “It was this little flame that was barely flickering anymore. The moment I came out, I felt every cell in my body transform. I was happier than I ever could have imagined,” she says. Page actually attributes her ability to hide her depression and her true identity to the way Hollywood works.
“People are always surprised. The huge machine of Hollywood creates this false image of what success is that causes everyone to strive for this thing that’s just not real. A red carpet is not a real thing. It’s a part of—just like in any industry—getting something out there and needing to publicize it. That’s what presenting at an awards show is. People are working, it’s a business, you get your hair and makeup done, you go, and you push the project you’re working on, because that’s a huge part of your job which I’m happy to do. But for the most part, people, whether they’re gay and closet and struggling, or trans and struggling, or just human and having a hard time, that’s not going to get reflected.”
As Gossip Cop reported, Page confronted presidential candidate Ted Cruz on his anti-gay stance just last week. TELL US: What do you think of Page’s comments about the film industry and the LGBTQ community?