Julianne Moore and Ellen Page 'banned' from shooting lesbian romance in Catholic school

'Religion to justify bigotry makes me sad' said gay actress Page on Twitter

Jess Denham
Friday 24 October 2014 09:05
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld

Julianne Moore and Ellen Page have been banned from shooting lesbian love scenes in a New York state Catholic boys’ school.

The actresses are starring in civil rights film Freeheld and wanted to use the school as the town hall in which their characters – a terminally ill police detective and her car mechanic partner – apply for a domestic partnership for financial reasons.

The school in New Rochelle initially approved a shoot and still photographs but retracted their permission "because of the subject matter", producer Michael Shamberg has said.

Shamberg wrote to principal John Flaherty to inform him that the drama is "about recognising the dignity of a woman who was a brave civil servant" and not gay marriage.

"I believe the theme of the movie is what Pope Francis recognised when he called for the church to welcome and accept gay people," he said, appealing to the school's religious stance.

But according to The Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers have heard nothing since, despite Flaherty reportedly promising to pass Shamberg's email on to the school president.

Page, who came out as a lesbian in February, posted a pro-gay rights tweet yesterday. She sent her support to the school's LGBT students, writing that "religion to justify bigotry makes [her] sad".

Freeheld tells the true story of respected New Jersey detective Laurel Hester, who hit headlines when she appealed from her deathbed for pension benefits to be passed on to domestic partners if wished.

"Freeheld captures the inequality and bigotry that one couple faced while coping with cancer and the end of life," producer Kelly Bush also told The Hollywood Reporter.

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"That our film was denied access to a location because of the subject matter – a same-sex couple fighting for their legal rights – illustrates just how important it is that this story be told."

Steve Carell and Luke Frimes also star in Peter Sollett's Freeheld, yet to be given a release date.

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