Ever since Ellen Page came out last year, she’s just seemed so much lighter, happier, more engaging and overall “better.” Like, coming out publicly made her a better person and she feels better about herself. Ellen has a new interview in Time Magazine – I’m pretty sure that this was supposed to be a breezy, short interview to preview her Oscar-baity film Freeheld, but Ellen ended up giving a really in-depth interview about LGBTQ politics, religion, Canada and a lot more. And yes, I think Freeheld will probably be up for some awards – it’s the true story of a New Jersey cop (played by Julianne Moore) who is dying and wants to leave her police benefits to her partner, played by Ellen Page, and the larger struggle for equality in domestic partnership. You can read Ellen’s full Time Magazine piece here. Some highlights:
Don’t call actors “brave”: “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…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. It’s hard to say this, because the context of the film is so deeply tragic, but for me there was a deep sense of peace on set that I had not felt in a really long time…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. Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled. I wish I could, honestly!”
How she decided to come out: “I remember watching the Pussy Riot documentary and thinking, “Oh my God. The courage of these people.” It’s just like, “Dude, come out—just say you’re gay. You’re privileged, you have a family. You have no excuse.” It kind of got to the point of—I felt guilty, to be honest with you, and I believe I absolutely should have. It’s become kind of a moral imperative to speak up. I know there’s been so much progress, but there’s still so much suffering in America, in Canada, and all over the world.
Before she came out, she was depressed: “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. Going to meetings, or trying to push for things: 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. You feel excited about life, and motivated and inspired. You want to do more. You want to go on adventures. For the most part that was gone.”
Backlash to the SCOTUS gay marriage decision: “In regards to the gay-marriage decision, we’re seeing tons of backlash. The anti-gay rhetoric of the right is turning into, “Gays are actually bigoted against us because we don’t get to express our religious freedom.” Religion has always been used for beautiful things, and also as a way to justify discrimination—whether it’s gender, or race, or the LGBT community, or what have you. Personally, I’m an atheist, so I just have no time for it. So that will be the next challenge”
The cruelty toward the LGBTQ community: “It still happens everywhere. There hasn’t been one GOP candidate, I don’t think, who’s outwardly spoken to a gay rights activist. There’s plenty of areas in places we consider gay havens or gay meccas that are not necessarily comfortable places to be existing as who you are or to grow up as who you are. That’s what really breaks my heart: The shame and toxicity that exists in people. Or some of the most homophobic people, the most violently homophobic people, probably just are gay themselves. That’s obviously going to be more of a massive societal consciousness change, which is probably going to take a while.
Whether Canada is better for LGBTQ issues: “Canada has a lot of issues, and a lot of similar issues in terms of racism, treatment of native people… The difference I feel in Canada is religion is way less intense. That’s not to say there’s not lots of religious people in Canada who observe whatever religion they choose to partake in, but the rhetoric influencing politicians, laws, and human rights, is just not the same. For me, that’s what separates it.
At the end of the interview, Ellen is asked about religion and speaking to religious people about LGBTQ issues and she talks at length about how difficult it is to even have a conversation with hardcore believers and how she’s been told that someday she’ll find God and settle down with a man and she replies with “Well, not gonna happen, but you enjoy your time in heaven. I’ll be down in hell.” Which is the equivalent of a shrug and a “You do you, I’m fine, thanks.” Anyway, Ellen was really on-point here. Love her.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.