Elliot Page on LGBTQ Cinema: ‘I’m Sorry, but This Is Not Niche’

Elliot Page has taken aim at the notion that queer films only have a small audience.

Speaking at the BFI Flare, London’s LGBTQ film festival, the actor claimed that “30% of young people identify as LGBTQ,” referring to a survey released earlier this year about Gen Z adults in the U.S. “So I’m sorry, but this is not niche.”

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Page was in London with his latest feature “Close to You,” which had its European premiere at the BFI Flare festival on Thursday. The film — from writer-director Dominic Savage — sees Page play a man who meets an old school friend with whom he once had deep feelings for while traveling to see to see his family in small-town Canada, a trip that also marks his first time returning home since his transition.

The feature — Page’s first since 2017 — was also the actor’s first time using an intimacy coordinator on set, something he said was remarkable given the sex scenes he’d shot much earlier in his career. He singled out an “awful experience with a much older man” in a film he made when he was 16. “How was someone not there [for that]?” he said. “It’s not fine. There are really vulnerable moments.”

Page also discussed coming out as trans to “The Umbrella Academy” creator and showrunner Steve Blackman before shooting the third season of the hit superhero series, and how it was then woven into the storyline.

“Steve was actually one of the first people I came out to,” he said, adding that he told Blackman that he hoped to have surgery before the shoot started. “So we all collaborated about how to do it. And luckily Steve really listened and we tried to handle it in a way that’s not not emotional, but doesn’t have to be a big drama.”

Reflecting on his current status as a working actor and filmmaker through his own Page Boy Productions banner, Page said he felt fortunate.

“I hate that I have to say this because it should not be the case, and we should have lots of trans actors,” he said. “But I feel really lucky that I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through and still get to be here and make things.”

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