​Ellen Page: 'I'm a very privileged gay person'

Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Peter Sollett Discuss "Freeheld"


Fun fact about the very thoughtful, very centered, very cerebral Ellen Page: she'd be right at home at the big-tent circus.

The Oscar-nominated actress deftly juggles oranges, a party trick she demonstrates between interviews. "I teach people how to do it," says Page, in the middle of a day of press promoting her drama Freeheld.

The very timely love story centers on the relationship between Laurel (Julianne Moore) and Stacie (Page), who faces an enormous legal and emotional battle when Laurel tries to leave her domestic partner her death benefits—even though their union isn't, at the time, legal.

Page produced the film, based on a true story and ensuing Oscar-winning documentary. It's been in development for seven years.

"I saw the documentary and I was so moved. It's actually hard to wrap your head around a woman being treated this way," says Page. "To look at a dying woman and deny her her rights strictly because she was in a same-sex relationship, that's just horrific."

Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Peter Sollett visit AOL Hq for Build on September 28, 2015 in New York. Photos by Noam Galai

Page came out publicly last year and brought girlfriend Samantha Thomas to the red carpet in Toronto. Stories like the one told in Freeheld resonate deeply with the actress.

"I'm gay. I fall in love with women. Therefore, falling in love with women is a big part of who I am," she says. "What's happening now is that people are understanding it on a more micro-level in regards to how much discrimination does effect people's lives."

Does she pay attention to awards buzz? "No. No."

She does, however, devote major focus to politics, recently discussing civil liberties incognito with presidential hopeful Ted Cruz in August in Iowa. Their spirited discussion, as Cruz held a burger, was filmed and became the talk of social media. Page, clad in a baseball cop and sunglasses, calmly held her own.

"Freeheld" New York Premiere

"It was spur of the moment. I'd been making a show with Vice and we happened to be there. We were watching his speech. We were hoping to ask him a question when he ended his speech but his disappeared. We ran over," says Page.

She's using her fame for good, saying that she feels like a "very privileged gay person" who gets to make her own choices and live life on her own terms. And yes, go ahead and call her an activist. She won't throw an orange at your head.

"I've been getting that question a lot, as you can imagine. I'm just actually living my life. It's hard for me to imagine how someone would not want there to be complete and utter equality for LGBTQ people. To me, it's a strange feeling. I've had the experience of living a certain way, mostly because of my job," she says.

"I've come out. I'm so happy. I'm in a relationship and getting to live my life and express my love freely. I want to be a visible person for the community."

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