It was only a week ago that Elliot Page was grilling a Republican presidential candidate over LGBTQ+ issues. Now the actor, who has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights since coming out in 2014, has turned his attention to the attitudes surrounding his work.
In an interview with TIME, he calls out people praising him simply for playing a gay character. “When people are (called) brave in regards to playing LGBTQ+ people, that’s borderline offensive,” he said. “I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be.”
In fact, hero-worshipping actors for doing what they’re paid for is something Page generally disagrees with: “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.”
In his latest film,Freeheld, Page plays Stacie Andree, one-half of a lesbian couple that achieved real-world fame when Andree’s partner Laurel was diagnosed with terminal cancers. On playing this character, Page added: “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.”
In addition, Page is not worried about being typecast as the stock lesbian character. “Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled,” he said. “I wish I could, honestly!”
Hopefully with more diverse filmmakers, directors, and people behind the scenes, Page will have more scripts to choose from in the near future. As it stands, he’d be seriously limited.
Interestingly, he believes that while Hollywood is shoving the cis-white experience down our throats, the average person doesn’t actually want to see that ad infinitum. “It’s evident from what people are watching on television that people want diversity. They want it,” he said. “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 – who are extraordinary.”