“The reason I wanted to do Boy Erased is because it’s about challenging the world around us and challenging the boundaries that they put on us.”
Lucas Hedges has explained why he was drawn to the role of a gay teenager in upcoming drama Boy Erased.
The Oscar-nominated actor stars as Jared Eamons, the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town who’s sent to gay conversion ‘therapy’ by his deeply religious parents, played by Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.
Speaking to GQ, Hedges said he wanted to do the film because it’s “about challenging the world around us and challenging the boundaries that they put on us.”
He added: “Whether that’s something as small as putting nail polish on your fingernails or the bigger freedom to express yourself sexually. It was a movie that taught me a lot about conviction and standing up for myself.”
Hedges recently opened up about his sexuality in an interview with Vulture.
He acknowledged that his role in Boy Erased would lead to questions over his own sexuality, especially given the intense debate over gay and lesbian roles being given to straight-identifying actors.
“I owe it to this part to speak as honestly as possible,” he said. “In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends.
“That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware that while for the most part I was attracted to women, I existed on a spectrum.”
When a sixth-grade health teacher described sexuality as more than just straight or gay, with some people falling in between the two, Lucas recalled feeling “ashamed” that he didn’t ascribe to a finite label.
“I felt ashamed that I wasn’t 100 per cent, because it was clear that one side of sexuality presents issues, and the other doesn’t as much,” he continued.
Now, he realises that the wide gap between straight and gay is exactly where he falls, adding: “I recognise myself as existing on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.”
Boy Erased isn’t the first film that Lucas has played a gay role in, as he previously starred in Lady Bird as Saoirse Ronan’s closeted boyfriend Danny O’Neill.
Watch the trailer for Boy Erased below.
Boy Erased hits cinemas on 2 November.