Australia’s own Joel Edgerton is an actor beyond measure having appeared in films around the globe mastering accents and multiple unique performances. The Gift, his well received first up directorial effort, also enjoyed box office success. Stepping behind the camera again, Boy Erased will send praise into the stratosphere including awards talk. Joel has rounded up film royalty Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe alongside a truly scintillating cast including little known Atlanta treasure, Lindsey Moser. A true story that may break your heart while emoting love will be on minds long after the end credits roll. Lindsey tells me all about her pride in this beautiful film.
How did you get cast?
LM – Funny story, I was unable to make it to audition after my agent rang short notice to say it’s in an hour but I just couldn’t get there. Incredibly through a miracle I did arrive, although 30 minutes late, but they were so backed up, nobody noticed I was way late. Plus I was the last person to enter the audition room. When I went in, Joel Edgerton alongside producers David Craig and Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, had a quick conversation then had me do a ‘cold’ read. There was this one word, something simple like ‘extraordinary’ that I totally botched (laughs), it was embarrassing. For some reason they were so sweet, complimentary, while Joel and I had on the same white shirt with blue stripes that day. About a week later, I got the call, so it must have been the shirt as I felt to have botched the audition.
You’re part of an important area of this story, were you aware of ‘the procedure’ of gay conversion therapy?
LM – As someone from the South, I had heard of it, whispers, or that it was a thing in the South unfortunately. It so happened I didn’t really know much about (what) people talk about.
As an actor, Joel is highly regarded by all. How is he as a director?
LM – All actors make the best directors in my opinion. There are also incredible directors who have never acted I’ve worked with also but there’s something about an actor that sits in the director’s chair giving them a leg up. Also Joel pays acute attention to detail more so than any other film experience I’ve worked on making you respect his dedication, especially in this story with dignity and high respect. He is a kind person to everyone, maybe a little shy in some ways. The month or so I was on set, it became incredibly amazing to watch him switch back and forth from behind to in front of camera seamlessly including going in and out of an accent. Doctor Sykes is a very unique character, so different from Joel himself, which made the transition even more terrific.
Did he give you any advice or personal motivation on set?
LM – One thing I had not experienced before was an extended sit down session with every single cast member in a scheduled meeting before shooting began to talk in detail about the character with their backstory. He talked about what happened to my character, outlined a home life, how she ended up at the facility, what her children are like, even what car she drove.
With such strong subject matter, how was it being part of it all?
LM – Shooting was quite intense, the environment around the material was challenging. There were times it became heartbreaking due to fear, uncertainty, oppression and judgement forcing you as an actor to be in control. I’m grateful to have the experience, makes me sad that people have encountered this in real life, horrifying.
Awards season is looming, how will you feel if this is recognised?
LM – Huge, proud, grateful and happy for all who worked so hard to achieve the film they made. Mostly for author Garrard Conley with his entire family for the trauma associated with this true story. I told him recently I was so sorry that this is his story but can’t believe this is your ending. To me, an award would be the power of God. Within these conversion therapy places, they try to tell you God is one thing. But really, what God does is take human mistakes to make it into the best thing that can ever happen to you in my opinion.
Lucas Hedges is one outstanding actor beyond his years.
LM – I know right, everything you imagine him to be he is. We spent time on set together, had lunch on a couple of days. He’s so kind, gentle, vulnerable but equally as funny, spontaneous or playful. Young but obviously wise, certainly brought the best out of me and wonderful to act opposite him.
Did you learn the craft from finely tuned actors?
LM – It’s the best acting lesson you could ever get. Every day I am with people like that, I learn. I was on camera often with Lucas but with Nicole, there were times I was able to just watch and couldn’t learn because of being wrapped up by her in the story. She’s an ultimate professional, I found myself emotionally affected by her performance until my inner voice said, wait you’re working, stop it (laughs). Unfortunately, I didn’t work with Russell on set but Nicole, Joel, Lucas and all the cast inspired me to act well.
Troye Sivian, another all round talent.
LM – Like Lucas, he is fun to be around, boyish, vulnerable and he’s a little edgy which is entertaining. Was lovely to get to know him while becoming an instant fan. Until then, I wasn’t aware of his music, now I’m a huge admirer.
Why should people see Boy Erased?
LM – To be moved, enlightened by a beautiful film, super relevant to what’s happening in the world, if nothing else, and be part of a different well told story. As few know about “conversion therapy”, we all should know through sharing the story, maybe it will not continue to occur.
After the Los Angeles premiere, how was your reaction and audience?
LM – Crying with everybody else for a couple of reasons. You know most people have traumatic situations in life that may happen or change the core of who they are. Lucas and Nicole did so beautifully in a scene as they sat together at the table when she apologised. Then took responsibility of the mistake she had made as a mother. An emotional masterclass.
After that when he stood up to his father, it was a proud moment of pure storytelling, riveting acting. The audience seemed to be totally absorbed. Was my first red carpet too, exciting.
What’s next, someone’s got to cast you as a lead?
LM – Currently doing independent projects. Next year, Best of Enemies with
Sam Rockwell. He is quiet, kind, super cool, another wonderful actor to work with. Also The Inspectors (TV series), I have a large supporting role coming up. That show is about as close to a lead role I’ve had so far.
BOY ERASED (Rated MA – 114 min)
NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS
Shane A. Bassett