Just yesterday, Deadline reported that Steve Carell (the aforementioned “yadayadayada”) has been cast in Peter Sollett’s Freeheld, a lesbian social issue drama based on the Oscar-winning documentary short. Listen, I absolutely love Steve Carell, and I’m more than willing to forgive him for Crazy, Stupid, Love, Dinner with Schmucks, and a zillion other family-friendly ventures I only watch under the influence of cable. But Steve will have to play second fiddle in a movie that features Ellen Page as a New Jersey lesbian mechanic fighting for the pension benefits from her dying lesbian cop girlfriend. Let’s break this award-winning formula down:
Ellen Page + The state of New Jersey + Hot lesbian profession + Hot lesbian girlfriend + Important social issue + Important historical event + Julianne Moore I guess
If you’re interested in crying on a public bus somewhere, I really recommend checking out the trailer for the original Freeheld documentary short. Moore will play Laurel Hester, the New Jersey police officer who contracted cancer and became famous for her deathbed plea to extend pension benefits to domestic partners. Hester was forty-nine at the time and jointly owned a house with her then partner, Stacie Andree (Page). But because Hester and Andree weren’t allowed to be “legally married” – and were just good ol’ regular domestic partners – Andree wasn’t entitled to Hester’s pension benefits.
There’s more to the story, if you feel like collapsing into a pile of sad bones on your office floor. I’m excited to see both the actors and the script, written by Ron Nyswaner of Philadelphia. Of course, it must be a little bit tough to be typecast as the “dying gays” writer, and I’m little bit tired of seeing “dying gays” movies (Dallas Buyers Club, A Single Man, The Hours). A report released by The Guardian last year showed that of the 23 Academy-Award nominated portrayals of LGBT characters, 56.5% died, as compared to 16.5% in the general nominee population. Whoops!
Still, Freeheld calls attention to an important issue, and I’m happy to see all of these actors share a stage in movie that won’t be actively terrible. Check out the trailer for the original documentary below.