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Joel Edgerton: ‘Boy Erased’ is a scarier movie because it is a real-life fear-based situation’

The actor-turned-director also says the film has some of the hardest scenes he has ever had to shoot

By Steve Brown

Joel Edgerton says Boy Erased has some of the hardest scenes he has ever had to shoot.

The actor-turned-director has helmed the film adaptation of the 2016 novel of the same name which tells the real-life story of Garrard Conley – author of the novel – who was sent to a gay conversion camp by his parents.

Although the film tackles the real-life story of Conley, Edgerton has admitted the film was going to be a “scarier movie” than his previous film The Gift because it is a “real-life fear-based situation”.

Speaking to Gold Derby at the Middleburg Film Festival, Edgerton said: “Having made The Gift and being such a fan of suspense movies and horror movies, I felt like in many ways, while Boy Erased wasn’t gonna have the jump scares or the horror, suspense tropes that The Gift had, that in many ways Boy Erased was gonna be a scarier movie than The Gift, for not everybody but for many people, because it was a real-life fear-based situation.

“It’s an experience that so many people really have, and for that reason, even as if it’s more subtle in its rendering, there is something deeply fearful about a lot of the sequences and scenes in that movie.

“The potential, for example, in the bathroom scene with Flea and Lucas Hedges that some deeper abuse might happen.

“And of course, there was some scenes in there, at least one of the scenes with Joe Alwyn and Lucas, maybe the hardest scene I’ve ever had to shoot. It may always be the hardest scene I’ll ever have to shoot.

“Definitely part of my receptors were always thinking about the horror elements of experiencing what Garrard went through.”

The film stars a stellar cast including Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Hedges as well as LGBT advocates including Troye Sivan, Cherry Jones and Xavier Dolan.

Although starring a number of openly LGBT actors, Edgerton believes there is still a big “culture of suppression of sexuality” and a “fear of coming out”.

He continued: “Great advocates and heroes in their own way.

“It’s interesting that acting is considered an art form or part of the artistic community, actors are, and yet there’s still great — great as in big — culture of suppression of sexuality, fear of coming out because of the fear of being judged by an audience and limiting your audience.

“You find not a lot of actors out there are out, and yet, people like Troye and Xavier in their artistic expression are very much heroes and advocates, and knowing that I loved Xavier’s performances in his own movies, and having met him when he was considering me maybe as an actor for a project of his, I thought, ‘I wonder if I could drag him to work for me’.

Carmen Cuba threw the idea of Troye Sivan in front of me and I was like, ‘Oh!’ I knew of him as an Australian burgeoning pop star, and then his audition tape that they sent me, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy needs to be in this movie, too’.

“Just purely on a representational and advocate front, it was just an added bonus that I had those people in the film.”

Boy Erased is out in US cinemas now and it slated to be released in the UK in 2019.

Watch the trailer below: