How Sex on the Juno Set Helped Elliot Page

Trans actor opens up about family estrangement, intense societal pressures in new memoir
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2023 11:54 AM CDT
How Sex on the Juno Set Helped Elliot Page
This cover image released by Flatiron Books shows "Pageboy" by Elliot Page.   (Flatiron Books via AP)

Elliot Page found his breakout role in 2007's Juno and nearly quit show business as a result. Under the media's gaze, the Canadian actor was "made to feel that I was inadequate, erroneous, the little queer who needed to be tucked away," the 36-year-old writes in Pageboy, a new memoir from perhaps the most famous transgender man in the world, arriving at a time when anti-trans sentiment is surging. More:

  • 'Brutally honest': Page "brings to life the visceral sense of gender dysphoria, or at least one type of dysphoria: the sense that your body is betraying you," in what turns out to be a "brutally honest memoir," writes Gina Chua at the New York Times.
  • Societal pressures: The memoir "slips back and forth among different decades," conveying "honest disorientation" as Page "charts the tremendous emotional and psychological effort it took for him to confront suffocating social messaging about gender and sexuality," writes Brandon Tensley at the Washington Post.
  • On experiencing sexual predation: "From a certain age onward, it just became so consistent," Page tells NPR in an interview. "It's baffling to me why anyone would want to treat anyone that way, particularly someone who is so young and in a vulnerable position." He describes several rapes in the book, per Vox.

  • Sex with Olivia Thirlby: Page's Juno costar was the "first woman I had a suitably consensual sexual relationship with," he writes, per People. They had sex "all the time" during filming, which "helped my shame dissipate," Page writes. "I didn't see a glint of it in her eyes and I wanted that—done feeling wretched about who I am."
  • On coming out: It would be years before Page came out as gay in 2014. "I felt like a huge weight lifted, immediately, like overnight, because that really was just so challenging and insufferable, being as closeted as I was, and for as long as I was," Page tells NPR.
  • Falling for Kate Mara: Page writes of having a relationship with actor Kate Mara soon after coming out as gay. Though Mara was dating Max Minghella at the time, she reportedly fell for Page, too. "It was a time of exploration and also heartbreak," Page tells People.

  • A-lister's rape threat: Page "recounts horrifying incidents, including being gay-bashed repeatedly," writes Vox's Aja Romano. Romano notes Page recalls the time one of the most famous men in Hollywood "threatened to rape him to prove that being gay wasn't real."
  • On transitioning: "I still knew something about me was different," Page tells NPR. In contemplating transitioning, "I'd figure out ways around it because it did just feel like that's too much, that's too big." During the pandemic in 2020, however, Page found the space "to sit with myself and reflect," which led him "to acknowledge and express my truth."
  • Estrangement from his father: They haven't spoken in more than five years, per USA Today. Page writes that his father and stepmother "support those with massive platforms who have attacked and ridiculed me on a global scale," per Vox. That's a nod to Jordan Peterson, the psychologist who was banned from Twitter for attacking Page.
  • A mother's love: "Some of the book's most moving parts paint vivid pictures of Page's touching relationship with his mother," per the Post's Tensley. "Amid all of the untangling that's led me to me, no matter the difficulties or moments of distance, I've never doubted my mother's love for me," Page writes.
(More Elliot Page stories.)

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