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It was also especially personal for Page, who joined the project several years before she, herself, came out in 2014. The 28-year-old actress credits “Freeheld” with helping her in her own struggles with being closeted.
“Laurel and Stacie are really incredible people who did something really extraordinary that created a profound ripple effect for change,” says Page. “To be part of a story that’s inspiring and also personally meaningful, of course, is a pretty wonderful opportunity to have.”
Moore said witnessing Page’s experience gave her a new perspective.
“Here was this young person who’s been dealing with this tremendously probably isolating experience, and how liberating it was for her to finally be playing someone in a same-sex relationship,” Moore says. “I’ve had plenty of friends who have gone through it, but it was personalized for me. I was touched by her and her vulnerability and her openness.”
Sollett, the director of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” went into production on “Freeheld” knowing the Supreme Court would likely take up the issue of gay marriage, with different results yielding much different climates for the movie’s release.
“If they rule against it, we thought, we’ll have a film that reminds people why it’s so important to continue to fight for this cause,” says Sollett. “And if they rule for it, we’d have a film that reminded people how critical it is to defend that cause and push even harder and further for equal rights.”
“Freeheld” also arrives at a time when progress is being measured on screen in Hollywood’s embrace of LGBT stories. “Freeheld” is joined this fall by a handful of high-profile films, including the 1950s lesbian romance “Carol” and the transgender true-life tale “The Danish Girl.” Such movies, of course, remain rare, and academic studies have illustrated how LGBT roles are seldom found in the industry’s most popular films.
As the writer of two gay-rights dramas spaced by 22 years, Nyswaner, who scripted the Oscar-winning “Philadelphia,” is uniquely qualified on rating the media’s progress. The door, he says, has hardly been “flung open.”