Ellen Page: Playing a lesbian in Freeheld was like ‘lifting a cloud’ after coming out

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X-Men star Ellen Page has opened up about playing her first openly gay character since coming out herself.

The Juno actress revealed in February last year that she was gay, in an emotional speech to GLAAD where she said she was ‘tired of lying by omission’ about her sexuality.

The actress was later announced to star and produce drama Freeheld, starring opposite Julianne Moore.

The film is based on the true story of New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester – and Hester’s battle while terminally ill to make sure her partner Stacie Andree receives survivor pension benefits, as their relationship wasn’t recognised.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Page said shooting the film – which is due for release in October – was therapeutic after publicly coming out.

She said: 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.”

Of the story of Hester and Andree, she said the original 2007 documentary ‘Freeheld’ made her feel incredibly emotional.

She said: “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.”

Page recently tweeted expletives to the Queen – after the Monarch she awarded an MBE to Northern Irish Councillor Maurice Mills, who blamed the spread of AIDS in Africa on gay people engaging in the “filthy practice of sodomy”.