Elliot Page got shingles during Inception filming and felt ‘out of place’ in cast ‘full of cis men’

Elliot Page opens up about shingles on Inception set.

Elliot Page has revealed that he got shingles while filming Oscar-winning blockbuster Inception due to the stress he felt being “out of place” in a cast “full of cis men”.

The actor, who came out as gay in 2014 before coming out as trans in December 2020, might a beacon of trans joy for countless LGBTQ+ youth, but navigating his gender and sexuality in the Hollywood industry has not been easy, as he shares in his newly-released memoir, Pageboy.

Opening up about his time filming Inception in 2009 alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-LevittTom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy, Page discussed the toll stress took on him.

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“Shingles [a viral infection that causes a painful rash] popped out of my spine while filming Inception when I was 22,” he writes in Pageboy: A Memoir, which is out now at Bookshop, Amazon and Waterstones.

The star continued: “Despite everyone being delightful to work with, I felt out of place. In a cast full of cis men, I did not understand the role I found myself in.

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“For the first two weeks of the film I joked I would be recast with Keira Knightley, and rightfully so. Shingles communicated the stress my body felt, what my words could not.”

It is not the first time Page has opened up about his difficulties starring in Inception. In April 2021 – just four months after he came out as trans – he candidly sat down with Oprah and remembered the “panic attack” he suffered during the film’s Paris premiere.

“There was so much press and so many premieres all around the world and I was wearing dresses and heels to pretty much every single event,” Page said at the time.

“I lost it, it was like a cinematic moment. That night, after the premiere at the after-party, I collapsed. That’s something that’s happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack.”

He added: “Ultimately, of course, it’s every experience you’ve had since you were a toddler, people saying, ‘The way you’re sitting is not ladylike, you’re walking like a boy.

“The music you’re listening to as a teenager, obviously, the way you dress. Every single aspect of who you are constantly being looked at and put in a box in a very binary system, that’s what it leads to.”

Released on Tuesday (6 June), Pageboy has seen Page share a series of shocking revelations, such as receiving rape threats from an anonymous Hollywood actor and online trolling from his estranged dad.

Elsewhere in the book, the actor recalls having sex “all the time” with Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby and his secret romance with actor Kate Mara.

Nowadays, Page is fully embracing who they are. Most recently they shared a heartwarming Instagram post about their “joy” at receiving gender-affirming care alongside a topless selfie.

Pageboy: A Memoir is available to buy now on Bookshop, Amazon and Waterstones.

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