Politically-astute Julianne Moore, who regularly speaks out in favor of Planned Parenthood and for gun control, is passionate about her new film Freeheld when it comes to its statement on equality and justice, in this case when it comes to LGBT rights. It is an issue Julianne Moore has been quite vocal about as well, among her other social and political causes.
Freeheld is based on the true story of Stacie Andree, played by Ellen Page, and Laurel Hester, played by Julianne Moore. Hester was a detective in New Jersey who was diagnosed with incurable stage IV lung cancer. Her romantic partner, Andree, however, was not eligible to receive Hester’s pension from the police force if she died because they did not recognize same-sex partnership.
Andree and Hester are considered pioneers, helping the LGBT community in the U.S. by winning their struggle. Their relationship was eventually recognized, and Andree was awarded Hester’s pension (three weeks before Hester passed away in 2006), eventually paving the way for recognition of same-sex marriage in the country. It is this fight for justice that attracted both Julianne Moore and Ellen Page to the movie that began as an Oscar-winning documentary short, according to the New York Times.
However, while premiering Freeheld at the Toronto International Film Festival, Julianne Moore noticed a trend in questioning that left her feeling a put off, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“I get that people have a tendency to lump things together. And yes, obviously, to effect change you need to call attention to things that are different. But I just came from the Toronto Film Festival, and I found it tedious after a while that every question about Freeheld was about gay films versus straight films and female films versus male films. The more we treat one another as special-interest groups, the more divided we become. I do want to move beyond that culturally.”
One aspect of the film that Julianne Moore liked the most is how the relationship between her character and Ellen Page’s character was shown as if it were just the same as any straight relationship, she told Cosmopolitan.
“It’s like every other relationship you’ve ever seen. So I think it’s important for us to see it, rather than categorizing things and saying, ‘This is gay, this is straight,’ how about just, ‘This is love.'”
Julianne Moore has played lesbian characters before, including with Annette Benning in The Kids are All Right in 2010. For co-star Ellen Page, however, this was the first time she has played a gay role since she came out as a lesbian in February 2014 in a very public way at a Human Rights Campaign conference. Her coming out is what led her to do Freeheld.
“I was attached to this film when I was 21, and I was very closeted at the time. I couldn’t even fathom doing this film as a closeted actor.”
Ellen Page, who long admired Julianne Moore’s acting, asked her to be part of the project. But, according to the Daily Mail, Julianne Moore almost turned down the role of Laurel Hester. Why?
“I thought I don’t want to do that. I don’t like police movies, I don’t know.”
Fortunately, Moore decided that message of the movie was important and signed on, which was a huge relief to co-star and producer Ellen Page (along with her manager Kelly Bush Novak, who is also openly gay). Part of this was because of how much she admires Julianne Moore as an actress, and part was because with a big name like Moore signing on, it meant the movie would for sure get made, and hopefully have commercial success.
Freeheld, starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, has already been receiving decent reviews and will be released in theaters across North America on October 2.
[Header Photo from Getty Images / Jamie McCarthy]