Elliot Page is ‘best boss you can ask for’ says director of lesbian cheerleading film Backspot

Devery Jacobs as Riley in the trailer for new film Backspot (left) and executive producer Elliot Page.

The director behind new queer coming-of-age cheerleading drama Backspot has called Elliot Page “the best boss you can ever ask for”.

DW Waterson’s Backspot, whose executive producer is The Umbrella Academy star Page through his company Pageboy Productions, is a sweaty, sapphic tale.

It follows Reservation Dogs star Devery Jacobs as Riley, a young queer woman determined to boost her professional cheerleading career and impress Eileen, the ruthless coach of All-Star team, the Thunderhawks, played by Thirteen and Westworld‘s Evan Rachel Wood.

Once Riley finally makes the team, she sacrifices her relationship with girlfriend Amanda (Kudakwashe Rutendo), and her own physical and mental health, to impress the tough queer coach.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Waterson explains why Page decided to come on board, and what it was like to work with the Hollywood A-lister.

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“Elliot came into the picture because he’s a huge fan of Reservation Dogs and had a [meeting] with Devery because he’s a fan. They hit it off, and Devery brought up that we were working on Backspot and getting ready to shoot it in the next six months,” the director recalls.

“I think once he read it – I’m not sure what specifically resonated – he and his team were like: ‘This is a great script. We love this. We want to come on board [and] be executive producers’.”

Page, who came out publicly as a trans man in 2020, has made it his mission to support up-and-coming trans and non-binary filmmakers. Earlier this year, 20-minute Portuguese film An Avocado Pit, which Page produced, made Oscars history when Ary Zara became the first trans director to be shortlisted in the live action short category.

Waterson identifies as non-binary, and Backspot is their debut film. And for anyone wondering, yes, working with Elliot Page is as dreamy as it seems.

DJ and Backspot director, D.W. Waterson poses in a multi-coloured hoodie.
DW Waterson directed cheerleader drama Backspot. (Vita Cooper)

“His team was incredible, so helpful, and Elliot has been so supportive this entire time. [He is] coming to film festivals with us, shouting us out, talking about the film on his book tour,” Waterson continues.

“[This is] the best situation you could have asked for as a first-time feature film director. Incredible. He’s the best boss you can ever ask for. I’m still pinching myself – how did I land Evan Rachel Wood and Elliot Page as my [executive producer] on my first feature?”

Backspot is one of several recent films that explore queer people in sport, following on from Kristen Stewart’s Love Lies Bleeding and Zendaya’s Challengers.

Unlike many other smaller, indie productions, Backspot will open in some big cinemas in America.

“I really understand when people say film is like a series of small miracles,” Waterson says. “And we’ve had extra-special miracles along the way, which has been awesome.”

Backspot opens in US cinemas on Friday (31 May).

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