Based on the Oscar-winning short documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is the true love story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials, Freeholders, conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), unite in Laurel and Stacie's defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.
- Ellen has been developing the project since she was 21.
- Lionsgate landed the distribution rights for a high seven-figure fee during the Berlin Film Festival 2015
- Seven years ago, while filming “Whip It”, Ellen was in a Detroit hotel room with her then girlfriend when she received an email containing a link to the trailer for the eponymous documentary that would galvanize her fight for gay rights.
- “The stories surrounding her [Laurel Hester] work are gripping and intense, and worthy of more coverage than I was able to fit into a short documentary. Those scenes should be very exciting! [...] It is important that the audience get to know Laurel and Stacie as an ordinary couple — loving each other, paying bills and setting up a home and everything else that comes with a long-term commitment — before we discover that Laurel is ill," Wade said. "I never knew Laurel and Stacie prior to Laurel’s illness — by the time I’d met them, their roles had settled into patient and caregiver. It’s really important, especially for the heterosexual audience, to see Laurel and Stacie’s relationship as any other." — filmmaker Cynthia Wade on making a feature film in comparison to documentary short (Source: afterellen.com)
- "She saw the documentary and was moved by the story, She understands the potential power of a feature version of the film. She is a very smart and very talented. I am thrilled that she is involved in this project — she has countless offers to appear in many movies, and the fact that she is so strongly attached to this film is a testament to how special Laurel Hester was, and how important Laurel and Stacie’s story is to this country’s slow move towards true equality." — filmmaker Cynthia Wade on Ellen Page's attachment to the movie (Source: afterellen.com)
- “It’s very direct in showing how discrimination against the LGBT community affects people. There’s no getting around the unfairness that happened here, and just how illogical and almost psychopathic it felt. And it’s so exciting to get to do a love story with the sex that you actually fall for. I’m thrilled about it.” — actress Ellen Page on the bottom line of the movie (Source: www.out.com)
- “I remember just seeing the trailer for the documentary and I was instantly brought to tears. Tremendous love stories between women have been made, of course. Some of them are my favorite movies. But to have a love story that brings up the civil rights issue, in relation to women—that we haven’t seen enough in the forefront.” — actress Ellen Page on the documentary of the same name (Source: www.ew.com)
- "It’s not often in the movies that we get to talk about our heroes. And to me, Laurel Hester is a hero — I knew that as soon as I came to know her story." — director Peter Sollett on Laurel Hester (Source: buzzfeed.com)
- "The political story and the personal story are one for me,” Sollett said. “It’s always our own sort of issues that pop up when we’re falling in love. But unfortunately, on top of those, these women had to deal with the prejudice and the obstacles set up for them by their local government. But for me, they’re one and the same: The personal is the political." — director Peter Sollett on the movie (Source: buzzfeed.com)
- "It was simply the most beautiful script I had ever read. It’s a very rare thing to find a piece of material that so accurately expresses one’s views about the world." — director Peter Sollett on what he drawn to the movie (Source: buzzfeed.com)
- "Moore was research-oriented, and took the beautiful documentary and the journalism that was available on the subject and really internalized it. She made it her mission to become an expert on the life of Laurel Hester. And it infused her choices within the scenes, and this is an important guiding light for us because it kept us honest." — director Peter Sollett on Julianne Moore's approach toward connecting to her role (Source: buzzfeed.com)
- "With Ellen, an actress we know and love and I think audiences completely embrace, I don't think it's wrong to use the words 'breakthrough performance.' She feels different, her physicality is different — the transformation is new. That was thrilling. She was incredibly excited about that; she was being more honest. I think she was exposing more of her personal life, more of herself." — director Peter Sollett on working with Ellen Page (Source: buzzfeed.com)
- “These women were forerunners of this year’s case [the summer’s historic Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage]. They were very regular people. Laurel was a detective, and Stacie a mechanic. And for the first time in their lives, they were public about their sexuality in a way that they hadn’t wanted to be. So what they did was major. They really put themselves on the line.” — actress Julianne Moore on Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree (Source: Glamour USA - September 2015)
- “Getting to play a lesbian was a pretty amazing feeling. It’s weird - you’d think I would have anticipated that. To do a love scene with a woman - particularly after being so closeted - in a film about two women who so inspired me, I can’t even find the words to describe the feeling.” — actress Ellen Page on working on Freeheld (Source: nowtoronto.com)
- “What's amazing about her is that she absolutely loves what she does. You feel her excitement and curiosity, and she's such a hard worker. She's so meticulous, she really wants to get it right. I thought, 'Oh, she's going to be method, and that'll be an interesting experience.' We got on the set the first day, and she's just the most goofy, open, lovely person." — actress Julianne Moore on working with Ellen (Source: nowtoronto.com)
- "People were so kind and generous about letting me learn. I told them I was keen on learning the process, particularly the financing process that I didn't understand. It was a great opportunity to learn what it takes to get funding for an independent film." — actress Ellen Page on her first steps as producer (Source: nowtoronto.com)
- "Recreating a sort of closeted relationship in a film caused some stuff to surface, for sure. And then there’s [the matter] of speaking up or potentially owning an identity that I think does require a responsibility of trying to help move things forward. For Stacie, it was more complicated, because her being fully involved in that activism meant accepting that the love of her life was going to die, and that was a lot of the complication for her. I could not imagine something worse. But when she finally managed, in some way, to accept that idea, I think she could fully give herself to the activist part of it all.” — actress Ellen Page on the stuff that surfaced while playing Stacie (Source: out.com)
- "I had a privileged position of working with her every day, and having an ongoing conversation with her about how [the work] was affecting her emotionally. 'Was it liberating? Was it intimidating? Are you feeling empowered?' I don’t think there will be another experience in my creative life where I get to share that with someone. A week or two into production, she told me it was one of the best experiences she’d ever had making a film. I think what she does in the movie feels like a breakthrough from an artist we’ve come to know and expect certain things from. Not only is she doing something new as an out woman playing an out woman in a mainstream Hollywood film, she’s giving us something that feels entirely fresh — like finding a room in your house that you didn’t know was there, or discovering another verse to your favorite song." — director Peter Sollett on working with Ellen (Source: out.com)
- “It was interesting for me, because Ellen had just so recently come out [when we started filming]. And this is going to sound silly, and hopefully not hurtful on my part, but I don’t think I was aware of how painful it is to be closeted. I have the advantage of being a person who’s never had to hide my sexuality, so I asked her a lot of questions — frank questions — about what that feels like. She said she felt discomfort simply wearing all these dresses, and it was all very eye-opening for me. She was so unprotective [of herself] — I was very touched by that. It definitely made me more sensitive to the nuances of our movie." — actress Julianne Moore on working with Ellen (Source: out.com)
- "I would really like it to be a big, mainstream hit, because I feel like it’s an important time in our culture. In the entertainment business, some people say we can effect change. I don’t know that we can effect change, but I do know that we reflect it. When there’s a Supreme Court judgment, generally, it’s because popular opinion has already changed. A majority of people in this country were in favor of marriage equality, and the Supreme Court made that ruling. And look! Suddenly, here is this movie that sort of reflects that back. So we’re ready as a culture to say, ‘Here. Look. Look how far we’ve come, and look what we’ve done.’" — actress Julianne Moore on the movie (Source: out.com)