Sat. Feb 23rd, 2019

Ellen Page: "My experience as a gay woman in Hollywood has been very negative" | TV

Ellen Page: "My experience as a gay woman in Hollywood has been very negative" | TV


Since actress Ellen Page in February 2014 made her homosexuality public, this "tiny Canadian", as described in her Twitter profile, has become one of Hollywood's most militant LGBTI + activists. Married for a year with dancer Emma Porter, she admits to EL PAÍS that coming out of the closet gave her life a new meaning: "Something changed in me; and not just emotionally. Because physically I also felt bad: I had panic attacks, I had stomach problems ... The day after I made it public, I went to re-record some shots and people told me that they looked like someone else. And I answered: 'Fuck, right?'

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On January 31, the actress went to the program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote his latest work, The Umbrella Academy: a new series based on Gerard Way's graphic novels that premieres on Netflix on February 15. But, in an intervention that went viral and in which he barely managed to contain the tears of rage, he ended up making American Vice President Mike Pence shame his homophobia. "Pence has always been very clear about his disdain for the LGTBQ community", he reaffirms. "But this is a matter of life and death, and it has always been for marginalized people." Speak with knowledge of cause; for two seasons, Page presented the documentary series Gaycation, with which he visited places in the world where homosexuality is stigmatized: "I met parents whose children have been killed or committed suicide, or a lesbian couple who can not show their faces because their family seeks them to kill them."

Page is not exactly a rookie in the genre of superheroes; X-Men fans still identify her with Kitty Pryde, whom she played in two films of the mutant saga. However, when the script of The Umbrella Academy, the project seemed so unique that the fear of repeating itself did not even cross his mind. "When I got to the last page I was like: 'Shit, and then what's going to happen?' And that's a good feeling. After talking with[the[elshowrunner]Steve Blackman, read the comics, know more about the arc of my character and understand how the series would be visually, I thought: 'Wow, I do not think I've ever seen anything like that' ".

Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Jordan Robbins, Ellen Page and Tom Hopper in 'The Umbrella Academy'.
Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Jordan Robbins, Ellen Page and Tom Hopper in 'The Umbrella Academy'.

The premise of The Umbrella Academy is the following: a millionaire scientist adopts seven children born the same day of women who had not shown any symptoms of pregnancy. Identify the special ability of each one, raise them in their enormous mansion -with a discipline bordering on cruelty and without ever professing any sign of affection-, and train them to fight crime with the warning that one day they will have to save the world. Years later, the result of his experiment are seven adults separated from each other and emotionally broken. "Ultimately, it's a drama about a dysfunctional family. These people were mistreated as small and each one deals with their traumas in their own way, "says the actress, who plays Vanya, the" number seven ". A very careful soundtrack (something must have influenced that Gerard Way was the vocalist of My Chemical Romance), a production design that has spared no expense, flashes of black humor and incursions into the supernatural as time travel or Butler Pogo (a chimpanzee who speaks created by CGI) also contribute to the peculiar tone of the series.

The cast, which includes Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones) or Mary J Blige, is more inclusive than in the original graphic novel. In terms of representation and diversity, Page believes that today's television is light years away from cinema. "I'm surprised that Hollywood is not changing faster by seeing the success of the series that are at risk and offer new perspectives. Please, and I say it as a member of the audience: I do not want to see another movie about a man seeking revenge. We need other types of stories, but that requires a huge systemic change in the industry. " She adds: "I've worked in Hollywood since I was 18 (I'm almost 32), and my experience as a gay woman has been, for the most part, extremely negative."

Does she believe, as stated in an episode of The Umbrella Academy, that in life "there are no good or bad"? "I understand what the character means: life is fucking complicated. But after interviewing people like Jair Bolsonaro, or a policeman who was proud to kill people queer, or to meet the leader of a neo-Nazi group in Ukraine ... ". Meditate a few seconds how to continue. "You always have to leave room for empathy. I try my best to confront all situations with an open heart, even when most of the time I am angry with the host and I just want to scream, scream and lose control. But, for all intents and purposes, what people like Jair Bolsonaro cause is absolute terror, trauma and brutal pain in people's lives. The extent of the suffering they cause is so severe that it is difficult to describe them in any way other than as evil. I still think that there is room for compassion, but that does not alter the fact that we must take measures to stop this ".

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