James Franco in I Am Michael has been taking the early running for being the highest profile gay-themed movie of the year, but there’s another film we should be hearing a lot more about in the coming month, Freeheld. The film stars Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Luke Grimes and Steve Carell, and now Page has been talking to EW about how happy she was to be playing a gay character so soon after she came out publicly in February 2014.
She says, “It got to the point where it didn’t matter what I was doing in my life, there was always this cloud. And to be shooting the movie so soon after coming out was some of the most joy I’ve ever felt on a film set, which is a tricky thing to say because we’re telling a story that’s incredibly tragic.
“But the feeling of being out and playing someone who’s gay, and someone whose courage has allowed me to live my life, that feels amazing. People like Laurel and Stacie are the reason I feel so happy in my life now.”
In the true life tale, Page plays mechanic Stacie Andree, who was denied the pension benefits of her longtime partner and New Jersey police detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), when the latter became terminally ill. While Hester’s detective partner, Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), was conservative and initially surprised to learn of Hester’s sexual orientation, he stepped up to become the leader in the fight for Laurel’s rights to assign her benefits to Stacie. Carell meanwhile plays the lawyer who helped take the case to court.
Of the story and the 2007 Oscar winning short documentary it’s based on, Page says, “I remember just seeing the trailer for the documentary and I was instantly brought to tears. Tremendous love stories between women have been made, of course. Some of them are my favourite movies. But to have a love story that brings up the civil rights issue, in relation to women—that we haven’t seen enough in the forefront.”
Freeheld, which has a script by Philadelphia scribe Ron Nyswaner, is due out in the US in October, all ready for a potential Oscar run of its own.