Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greasing Palms

I am very excited about this photo of dirty hands. Why am I excited about this photo of dirty hands? For one, they are Ellen Page’s hands. Anything to do with Ellen Page is pretty exciting - duh. And, two, it’s because it’s Ellen Page’s dirty hands from her first day of mechanic lessons for the film “Freeheld.” Ellen tweeted out this picture yesterday afternoon and it made me squeal just a little. But in a totally professional way, like one does at her desk at work. *Looks around to make sure no one noticed*

If you’ve been around here, or The Internet, or any current affairs-reading lesbians for a while you know “Freeheld” is the true-life story of a lesbian couple who fought against their local county government to have the terminally ill partner’s pension benefits go to her surviving partner. Their life was turned into an award-winning documentary short of the same name. “Freeheld” won the Best Documentary Short Oscar in 2007.

Back in 2008, Page first signed on to the film. Yes, that’s six years ago. SIX YEARS AGO. Which is, like, 20 years in Hollywood terms. And as a gay lady obsessed with pop culture, it feels like 100 years ago since I began writing about this project. I’m not even joking. But thank God that tiny Canadian was persistent because those dirty hands mean it is finally, finally really happening.

As announced earlier this year, Julianne Moore has come on board to play Laurel Hester, a veteran New Jersey police detective. Page will play her domestic partner Stacie Andree, an auto mechanic. When she became ill in 2005, Laurel, a 25-year veteran of the police department, petitioned her local county government (called Freeholders, I dunno – government is weird) to pass her pension to her registered domestic partner. Big surprise, the all-male, all-Republican freeholders voted against allowing her to assign Stacie as her benefactor. But the couple kept fighting and rallied public support. (Spoiler Alert: Then, after an impassioned deathbed video from Laurel asking them to reconsider, the freeholders revered the decision. She passed 18 days later.)

The film will also star Steve Carell (replacing Zach Galifianakis, which makes me happy because, man, I was not a “Hangover” fan) as a gay rights advocate who helps the couple.

Right, so back to those dirty hands. I can’t think of a better symbol to show the hard-work and passion it took – both Laurel and Stacie in real life and Ellen and the filmmakers behind the project – to make this happen. Also, props to Ellen for going deep method with her acting.

p.s. If you haven’t watched the original “Freeheld” trailer, you should. It still makes me tear up at my desk all these years later. *Looks around to make sure no one noticed, again*


Carmen SanDiego said...

Will def watch this. And I am glad Galifianakis has been replaced

Anonymous said...

Cynthia Wade, the short-film maker, is a family friend. So good to see that this remarkable story will now gain even a larger audience. Moore and Page seem perfect for the parts.