In his new memoir, “Pageboy,” Elliot Page talks about the struggles he faced with his gender identity in the years of his career before coming out as trans in December 2020. One was about prejudice and harassment within the industry, like when an A-List actor said, “I’m going to fuck you to let you know you’re not gay.”
Another of these difficulties was having to play female characters and wear female clothes. On one occasion, Page decided she had had enough and she told her agents to turn down a part of hers that demanded vintage women’s couture.
“I would picture myself in a mid-1800s woman’s costume. The dress, the shoes, the hair flashed before my eyes. It was too much after wearing the mask for awards season,” Page wrote, likely in the aftermath of the “Juno” awards campaign in late 2007/early 2008.
“I realized that if I were to do that, I would want to kill myself.”
He said it was a “sought-after” role from a “famous book” — a likely candidate is Cary Joji Fukunaga’s 2011 adaptation of “Jane Eyre,” starring Mia Wasikowska.
Playing non-male characters was “too much” and the Netflix series ‘The Umbrella Academy’ even brought out its female character Vanya Hargreeves as a trans man named Viktor in the season immediately following Page’s coming out. How could he play female roles on screen when the role he “played in (her) his personal life was already suffocating him.”
“I ventured to dispel the truth out of fear of exile, but I was despondent, trapped in a dismal disguise. An empty, purposeless shell,” Page said. “It wasn’t easy explaining to my reps that I couldn’t take on a role because of the clothing. A face crumpled and tilted to the side, ‘Are you an actor? “Wardrobe accessories for movies have ripped my insides out, claws ripping through my organs.
“I cringe at the way people lit up when they saw me in women’s clothing, like I’d performed a miraculous feat,” she added.
“People were like, ‘Well, you’re an actor. He just wears the f-king clothes.’ You know? But needless to say, it was so much more than that.”