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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > March 2019 > Boy oh boy!

Boy oh boy!

Joel Edgerton was so intrigued by Garrard Conley’s memoir about how his parents put him into a “gay conversion” programme that he bought the rights to the story. Since then, he’s written and directed the film version of Boy Erased. He tells Matthew Todd what attracted him to the tale and how he convinced A-listers to sign up to star in it

As a straight man, what did you get from Garrard’s book?

I came to it out of curiosity. I’m fascinated by “institutions.” As a child they were always in my nightmares: being taken away from my parents and locked up, so I went in thinking it was going to be a slow train wreck and to enjoy the madness of it. I assumed it was a story of black and whites: hateful parents sending their poor child to a hateful therapist running a hateful facility. But what really struck me was that those parents did was a loving act; a misguided loving act. The culture they came from had created a scenario where homosexuality was to be feared, where the way to help their son, rather than just love and accept him, was to turn his sexuality around. That it was done out of love and not hatred fascinated me. The parents are the ones who needed evolution and beyond that, the (mainstream) community needs evolution, the culture needs evolution.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Dsquared2 from drag to designing for Madonna! Inside: Joel Edgerton on directing Boy Erased, the queer Brazilians resisting Bolsonaro, Syria's first openly gay actor, Owen Jones, and more.