The 'Umbrella Academy' star and 'Juno' Oscar nominee exclusively talks to PEOPLE about his forthcoming memoir, 'Pageboy'
When Elliot Page sits down to discuss his memoir, he’s smiling.
It’s been a journey — to say the least — to get to this point. A child star in Canada, Page first arrived into the American conscience with Juno in 2007, for which he received an Oscar nomination. His subsequent films — which included Inception (2010) and Whip It (2009) — and TV career (he’ll soon star in the final season of Netflix's The Umbrella Academy) has made him a favorite of Hollywood. But along the way, Page — as he writes in his new memoir Pageboy — would struggle to find his identity and his place in Hollywood. Page publicly came out as gay in 2014 and as trans in December of 2020.
Now 36, Page can’t stop smiling. “Today I definitely feel a way that I never thought I would get to feel,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I think that mostly manifests in how present I feel. The sort of ease and the ability to exist. There's been periods in my life where I really felt like I wasn't. We talk about trans joy and euphoria and all of those things and so much of it is in the stillness. I just feel so lucky.”
Here are five revelations from Page’s new memoir, which is out on June 6.
He was verbally assaulted at a party by an A-list actor two months after he came out
In a chapter titled “Famous A--hole at Party,” Page describes being at a birthday party in Los Angeles in 2014. An actor, whom Page describes as an “acquaintance,” told Page that "you aren't gay. That doesn’t exist. You are just afraid of men.” He then told Page: “I’m going to f—k you to make you realize you aren’t gay.” They saw each other at the gym a few days later. The actor said, “I don’t have a problem with gay people I swear.”
“I think you might,” Page told him.
“I've had some version of that happen many times throughout my life. A lot of queer and trans people deal with it incessantly. These moments that we often like don't talk about or we're supposed to just brush off, when actually it's very awful. I put that story in the book because it’s about highlighting the reality, the s--t we deal with and what gets sent to us constantly, particularly in environments that are predominantly cis and heterosexual. How we navigate that world where you either have more extreme, overt moments like that. Or you have the more, like, subtle jokes. [In Hollywood] these are very powerful people. They're the ones choosing what stories are being told and creating content for people to see all around the world."
“I’m purposely not sharing his name,” Page says, noting that many people at the party saw and heard what happened. “But he will hear about this and know it’s him.”
He had a relationship with Kate Mara
Page goes on to describe their romance, during which Page was filming 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past. (“Kate has read the book,” Page says. Mara is appearing with Page at a book event in Los Angeles in June.) Page writes that Minghella was supportive of Mara exploring her feelings for Page. “I never thought I could be in love with two people and now I know I can,” Page says Mara told him.
“This was right after I’d come out as gay and it was a time of exploration and also heartbreak,” Page says. “I think my relationship, or whatever you want to call it with Kate, very much encapsulates a certain dynamic that I consistently found myself in, which was falling for people that — I think a lot of us do this — who aren't fully available. And the sort of safety in that and the highs and the lows and the serotonin bump, and then it goes away."
"And I think that is definitely a pattern in my life,” he adds. Page says he and Mara are still close. “I think the love and care that we have for each other is its very own special thing. Separate from the intimacy that I write about.”
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His inspiring friendships with Catherine Keener, Kristin Wiig, and Alia Shawkat helped save him
“We all love Catherine Keener, of course. Catherine I've known since I was 19, and she's been one of the most important people in my life. Not only when we were working together on a film we were shooting when I was 19, called An American Crime. But later, when I was back in Los Angeles during the whole sort of Juno awards season time — which was overwhelming to say the least — she let me live with her. She has been someone that I could rely on and go to without question. Since I've met her, she's one of the closest people to me in my life. And one of those people who you don't really know who you'd be without.”
Page writes that he was having issues while filming Whip It and costars Wiig and Shawkat were there for him. “Kristen, who, actually I first met on SNL but on Whip It properly, is also someone who at very difficult, challenging moments in my life just showed up. Although it was not surprising because she's an incredible person. Alia has also been a person in my life who, like Kristen, just always encouraged me to be my authentic self. Encouraged me to go against the forces that were telling me to not be. So just true, grounded, sincere people who were very just selfless and kind and loving friends.”
He reveals his admiration for Michael Cera, whom he once watched sleep on a plane
“How could he be so relaxed?” Page writes in his memoir, of watching Cera sleep on a plane (they flew to Los Angeles together to audition for Juno). “I used to look at people and wonder how they were so comfortable. Don't get me wrong. And it's not even about being happy or not, but I just would watch people just sort of exist. I remember an ex, I'd be like, ‘What do you do when you wake up in the morning?’ I didn't really actually understand how people just got in their car and went to get groceries or I didn't understand. I actually didn't understand. And I just thought I was always going to feel that way and that I'd be this sort of annoying person. I'm sure people around me were kind of like, ‘What is his deal? He can't get his s--t together.’ And now here I am. And it's so unfortunate that it bothers people so much. It's so unfortunate that people for whatever reason want to take that away from trans people. I just don't understand.”
He had a painful relationship for two years with a closeted female costar he won’t name
Page acknowledges the person he calls “Ryan” worked with him in a movie, and describes secretly holding hands on set, but pretending to be friends elsewhere in public. He says they were trailed by paparazzi, would leave hotels from different doors, and not look at each other in public. Or at parties. “Some of my friends didn’t even know I was in a relationship,” Page says.
“Ultimately, I do think she loved me. We loved each other and that was very real in our bubble. It was fantastic. You know, it was really beautiful. I admired her and how she inspired me in many ways. But feeling hidden was far too painful. That was impossible and not a sustainable relationship at all. And it taught me that I was not gonna do that again.”
Page realizes that a hidden relationship between two LGBTQ+ costars might sound a bit 1950s, that many might ask, "Oh, that thing still goes on today?"
“Hell yeah, it does,” he says.
“Some of my closest friends didn't even know I was in a relationship. And I was in a relationship where we were in a relationship for a decent amount of time. I mean, that is next level.”
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