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Joel Edgerton says films with LGBT+ characters shouldn’t be defined as just ‘LGBT+ films’

The actor-turned-director helmed the new gay conversion therapy film 'Boy Erased'

By Steve Brown

Joel Edgerton doesn’t think films with LGBT+ characters should be defined as just ‘LGBT+ films’.

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

But although Edgerton faced backlash online for being a straight man helming the production, the director tells Attitude’s March Style issue – which is available to buy and download now – that just because a film features LGBT+ themes and characters, that should not define the movie.

He tells Attitude: “There was definitely a bit about, ‘Why am I going to see this movie made by a cis white straight dude about an LGBT+ story’ but for every little bit of that there was a lot of support, totally outweighing the negativity.

“I will say as well: there has to be a point where [just because a film has] LGBT+ characters it isn’t suddenly an LGBT+ film as if it’s a genre.

“They also need to be defined by their own relative merits in terms of the flavour.

Love, Simon is a romantic comedy, Boy Erased is a drama, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a dramady or a satire.

“Online, I’ve seen, Genre: LGBT+. That doesn’t steer people in the right direction.

“That’s not to say that it shouldn’t be comedy/LGBT+ but at least let people know it’s an action movie, or this kind or that kind.

“It’s almost as if it’s marginalised simply because of the characters within the movie. To me, the hope is that Boy Erased is an expansive movie about humanity, love and acceptance.”

Boy Erased features a stellar cast including Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Troye Sivan.

The film was released in UK cinemas on February 8.

You can read our full interview with Joel Edgerton in Attitude’s March Style Issue, out now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: three issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.