Elliot Page says the experience of filming his first movie since coming out as trans was “liberating,” in part due to the film’s opening scene in which he appears shirtless.
In Close to You, Page plays a trans man named Sam who reconnects with an ex. In that first scene, Page is shown getting out of bed without a shirt on, looking out his window, and then getting dressed.
The actor put his powers on display in Washington, DC last weekend.
“Shooting on the day, I was getting out of bed and getting dressed, it was sort of clumsy, like, ‘Oh, it would be great, he sleeps shirtless,'” Page told Entertainment Weekly.
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“In the moment when you’re making this, you’re making it from this instinctual place that I don’t know how to describe. It just sort of happens, but at the same time, it just felt natural. Showing this dude who’s comfortable and present and waking up in his body, that means a lot to me. I never thought I’d feel that way, so it’s nice to get to act it.”
The film involves a significant amount of improvisation, something Page said he would never have felt comfortable with pre-transition. He also said he felt empowered playing a trans man dealing with issues he could relate to.
“The way I get to feel working now is far more embodied coming from that foundation, versus entering and not feeling that way. It’s a huge shift. Doing something like this, complete improv, before, would’ve been close to impossible. The sensation of being able to do it and feel that present enough to do it, I just felt exhilarated every day. What a special film to do, first time [returning to film], because it lets you feel embodied to the extreme.”
In his memoir, Pageboy, Page wrote about how working on the set of Inception while still in the closet was so stressful for him that he developed shingles. “In a cast full of cis men, I did not understand the role I found myself in,” he said.
Since coming out as transgender in 2020, Page has spoken openly about feeling more confident and at home in his body.
“It’s the little [things]…You know, getting out of the shower and the towel’s around your waist and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re just like, ‘There I am,’” he told Oprah Winfrey in a 2021 interview. “I’m not having the moment where I’m panicked… It’s being able to touch my chest and feel comfortable in my body for probably the first time.”