Based on the real life experiences of Garrard Conley who was sent to gay conversion therapy as a teenager as detailed in his book Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family, Joel Edgerton adapts, directs and stars in the new film Boy Erased.
Featuring a deeply moving central performance by Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as Jared, the film also stars Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as Jared’s religious parents and Joel Edgerton as the leader of the conversion therapy programme Jared is enrolled in. The supporting cast features Troye Sivan, Xavier Dolan, Cherry Jones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Michael “Flea” Balzary, Joe Alwyn and David Joseph Craig who also serves as one of the film’s producers.
Following a successful festival run Boy Erased opens in cinemas in New York and Los Angeles this Friday 2nd November, before expanding to other US cities on 9th November and nationwide on 16th November.
Ahead of the film’s US opening, James Kleinmann sat down for an extended conversation with Boy Erased author Garrard Conley in New York. During their discussion Garrard talks about wanting to honour the stories of fellow conversion therapy survivors, the publishing world’s resistance to gay subject matter, his surprise that the theme has become a mainstream topic, his trust in Joel Edgerton in adapting his work for the screen, tweeting Vice President Mike Pence and receiving an email from someone who said seeing the trailer for Boy Erased stopped him from committing suicide. He also talks about meeting with Lucas Hedges as he prepared for the role, Russell Crowe unexpectedly showing up at his father’s church and being on set and thinking “Oh God, I’m back”.
Here’s the interview.
Boy Erased tells the story of Jared (Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (Kidman and Crowe) at age 19. Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Boy Erased is the true story of one young man’s struggle to find himself while being forced to question every aspect of his identity.