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Joel Edgerton didn’t think he was the right person to direct Boy Erased

Joel Edgerton didn’t think he was the right person to direct Boy Erased
[Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images]

After cinematic jack-of-all-trades Joel Edgerton read the memoir Boy Erased, he became obsessed with it.

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“I read the book, put the book down, and the book just stuck with me,” he says. “It was inside my head every day. I thought it was a very important story and felt emotionally moved by it.”

Looking for a follow-up to his well-received directorial debut, The Gift, Edgerton considered making a film adaptation of the book, which is about a viciously outed young gay man whose religious parents send him to conversion therapy. There was just one problem.

“I didn’t think I was the right person to tell the story,” the actor says. “For the simple fact that I didn’t identify as someone from the LGBT community. I thought I could be behind the scenes in some way, but maybe it’s not me who should tell the story.”

As time wore on, though, the story stayed under Edgerton’s skin. Eventually, he even started writing out scenes from the book in the way he envisioned them. He was hooked.

“The obsession kept dragging along, and after a while I felt that maybe I was qualified to tell the story because I care about it so much.”

Fast Company recently spoke with Edgerton about his path to making the film. Have a look at a video below to hear him discuss the fears Boy Erased is based in, what it’s like to direct one’s acting heroes (in this case, Russell Crowe), and how the film jells with the current political environment.

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