Ellen Page Says It's 'Offensive' When Straight Actors Are Called Brave for Playing Gay
Ellen Page doesn’t think it’s brave that she would play a straight woman.
The openly gay actress, 28, who will next appear as one half of a lesbian couple opposite Julianne Moore in Freeheld, recently spoke out about whether straight actors are taking a “career risk” by appearing in so-called gay movies.
“When people are [called] brave in regards to playing LGBTQ people, that’s borderline offensive,” she tells TIME. “I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be."
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Page goes on to explain that she felt a “deep sense of peace” on the Freeheld set. “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 says. “Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled. I wish I could, honestly!”
Unfortunately, there aren’t very many LGBT movies being made, which Page calls “the huge issue.”
“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,” she says, noting the success of Orange Is the New Black, which made trans actress Laverne Cox a star. “You’re seeing actors that, if that show didn’t exist, we might not have ever seen -- that are extraordinary.”
She continues, “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.”
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Meanwhile, of her own coming out -- which Page did in early 2014 during a Human Rights Campaign event -- she says it has “one hundred percent” put her more in touch with acting.
“And even more than whatever it means to act, whatever it means to know that you’re living an authentic life,” she adds. “For me, the level of sadness and lack of inspiration and joy in general -- that was hurting my work. I didn’t feel motivated. I was just depressed.”
“The moment I came out, I felt every cell in my body transform,” she recalls. “I was happier than I ever could have imagined. You feel excited about life, and motivated and inspired. You want to do more. You want to go on adventures.”
One of those recent adventures, which TIME reveals is part of a Vice series called Gaycation, took place when Page confronted presidential hopeful and extreme conservative Ted Cruz about discrimination against LGBT people at the Iowa State Fair.
Now, watch Ellen thank Ellen DeGeneres for coming out ‘when it was much harder’: