Nicole Kidman

‘Boy Erased' Tells the True Story of a Gay Conversion Therapy Survivor

"Boy Erased" sheds light on controversial gay conversion therapy.

What to Know

  • "Boy Erased" stars Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges and Joel Edgerton
  • Joel Edgerton wrote the screenplay and directed the film
  • "Boy Erased" is based on a memoir of the same name by Garrard Conley

Nicole Kidman says she had never heard of gay conversion therapy before reading the script for "Boy Erased."

"Is this real? I didn't think it existed so that was a big learning curve for me," Kidman said.

"Boy Erased" is based on the true story of Garrard Conley and his memoir titled "Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family." When he was a teen, Conley's deeply religious parents sent him to a gay conversion therapy camp to help him get rid of his homosexual feelings.

Joel Edgerton ("Loving") penned the screenplay and directed the film. The story follows the fictional Jaren Eamons played by Lucas Hedges who must overcome the fallout of being outed to his parents. Kidman plays his mother Nancy in the film and struggles with choosing her faith over her son's well-being.

Both Edgerton and Kidman says it was an active choice not to make religion, the parents or the conversion therapy counselors the villain in this movie. They say they wanted to portray the very real, very human response that can happen in these situations.

"It's not fueled by hatred, sending their children to those places. It's more complicated than that." Edgerton said.

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Both the filmmakers and the Conley's say they hope this film starts a conversation about gay conversion therapy, where they say more than 77,000 people are being held in these types of programs around the U.S.

Garrard Conley wanted to make it clear that his goal in writing his memoir and doing this film was not to vilify religion. "Whatever target I had to dismantle was not religion, or my parents or the counselors themselves. It was the bigotry that allowed this kind of thinking to happen."

"Boy Erased" opens nationwide on November 2nd. It stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Joel Edgerton.

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