Elliot Page hopes new film ‘Close to You’ cracks open hearts and minds

By Divya Rajagopal

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian actor Elliot Page hopes that his role in the new film “Close to You” moves people and cracks open the hearts and minds of viewers as it did for him.

The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday, explores the story of Page’s character Sam, who returns home after gender transition for a family reunion, dreading the awkward questions and comments that he is likely to encounter.

The film, which in part parallels Page’s life, is co-written by Page and Dominic Savage who also directed the film.

Page, who received an Oscar nomination for his role in “Juno” (2007), was assigned as female at birth and came out as transgender in 2020.

The 37-year-old actor said that he was so nervous making a movie heavily reliant on improvisation, but Savage created a safe space for the entire cast to explore their characters. “It allowed us to feel free, limitless and dive into the material, and it worked,” he said.

“So much of this movie is about connections, what it means to be human, and what it means to feel seen. And I imagine those themes resonate with most people,” Page told Reuters.

Actress Hillary Baack who plays Katherine a high school friend of the character Sam said that it was ‘challenging’ in the best way and it felt free and satisfying to fall into the story deeply.

“It was a privilege to get to go into those moments for such a long time,” Baack said.

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal; editing by Diane Craft)