Troye Sivan And Director Joel Edgerton Talk ‘Boy Erased’ And Its Importance To The LGBT Community

November 2nd marked the premiere of Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased starring Academy Award Winner Nicole Kidman and Oscar Nominee Lucas Hedges. The film is based on Garrard Conley’s memoir, ‘Boy Erased’ where Conley recounts his time in a church-supported conversion therapy camp. Hedges plays the role of Jared Eamons, the son of Nancy Eamons (Nicole Kidman) and Marshall Eamons (Russell Crowe). After admitting to his highly religious parents that he has had thoughts of men, Jared hopes to reconcile the relationship he shares with both his family and God by attending a 12-Step institutionalized program that is supposed to cleanse him of his “sins." It is here that Jared meets notable characters such as Gary (played by singer Troye Sivan) and Michael (David Joseph Craig). This film delves into the complexity of faith as Hedges’ character desperately tries to confront the conflicts between his relationship with God and his own sexuality. The film also hopes to shed light on the harsh realities of conversion therapy that is still practiced throughout the United States today.

On Saturday, November 3rd, the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood showcased a special screening of the film followed by a Q&A with director Joel Edgerton and actor Troye Sivan. I was lucky enough to be in attendance! During the Q&A, Edgerton and Sivan noted their own experiences with mental health and how they personally took care of themselves during filming. Edgerton said that he “was not overthinking anything...as much I was expecting a lot of darkness and hatred, there’s something incredibly hopeful about Garrard’s particular experiences, not his experiences in conversion therapy, but his development of his own agency." Edgerton also discussed his own mental health issues. He recalled how dealing with ADHD lead him to obsess over the chaotic nature of making a film, but his family helped him through the process. Troye Sivan also described the sense of community that was felt on set. Troye noted how, “conversations between scenes and between set ups and stuff like that, and kind of being there for each other” all helped him during the filming process.

When asked how Troye was cast into the film, Edgerton explained how Troye was an “angel” and that Edgerton could not get Troye out of his mind after Troye's first reading of the script. Troye himself recalled how he blew through the script. Normally, it takes Sivan awhile to get through scripts, but Sivan stated how it took him roughly 2 hours to finish it this time around. The film also includes Troye’s song “The Good Side" as well as the song “Revelation” which he made exclusively for Boy Erased with artist Jónsi.

After opening up questions for the floor where Sivan was asked about his future projects, Sivan highlighted how he loves making things and how he tries to delve into things that are exciting to him, whether that be acting, things behind the camera or even making perfumes! What does Troye Sivan smell like you may ask? “Woody” he said, followed by laughter from the audience.

Lastly, the Q&A ended with a question that asked Edgerton and Sivan about what personally brings them hope regarding the film. Edgerton highlighted how, “if you believe in something, then chances are there are people who believe in it too,” and that “the response and the warmth of reception… and the people’s willingness for action is the hopefulness we’re putting out into the world."

Sivan himself addressed the audience and his appreciation of everyone’s attendance. Sivan urged people to talk to others about the film, talk to their parents about the film and emphasize how the goal is to start a conversation with others in order to provoke change. He believes that Boy Erased is an entryway to talk about such hard-hitting issues which makes him hopeful of the future.

Boy Erased is out in select theaters starting November 2nd.