Ellen Page: It's Offensive to Say Playing Gay is 'Brave'

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Freeheld, starring Ellen Page (as Stacie Andree) and Julianne Moore (as Laurel Hester) as domestic partners, is set for release this fall. The story documents the true life struggle the couple faced trying to ensure that Hester's pension benefits would be passed onto Andree, after Hester's diagnosis of terminal cancer. Especially in light of this summer's incredible marriage equality victory, it's a timely and important look at the people who fought so hard to get us to this point. Page spoke with TIME about the film, and shared her strong ideas on the issue of "playing gay:"

I think, given the effect it might have on your career, yours is the sort of performance people tend to call “brave.” What do you make of that word as relates to actors?

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.

Unfortunately, though, there really aren’t many movies about LGBTQ people, so it makes it more likely that actors are seemingly taking a career risk by appearing in one.

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, potentially since I was a teenager and first having these really beautiful, fortunate moments in films. 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!

Read the full interview on TIME.

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