Episode 1148 - Ellen PageWTF with Marc Maron
- 1,300 views
- 13 Aug 2020
At the time when Juno became an award-winning hit film, Ellen Page experienced two things she never experienced before in her young life: She was now instantly famous and she fell in love. Unfortunately, the pressures of the former prevented her from publicly acknowledging the latter. Ellen talks to Marc about the struggles she faced in hiding her true self and the relief of coming out seven years later. They also talk about the importance of using one’s platform to advocate for change and how Ellen’s documentary work is shining the spotlight on injustice.
Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? Next, what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast. Welcome to it. It is. Have I ever said the date ever this is being posted. I'm going to mark the date. August 13th. Twenty twenty. There it is. Timestamped. I don't think I've ever fucking done that. I don't even know why I just did it.
Now, maybe it'll be ominous.
Maybe it'll have some meaning. Maybe it'll, it'll have some contacts at some point. Like I can't believe that was that day when he said the date and that happened on that. Yeah it's not.
Come on. What are you doing. How's it going.
All right. It's getting weird, right.
Getting weird. Getting come on man. I don't know what time it is. I don't know what day it is. I don't know what I did this morning and what I did two weeks ago. I don't know how long those, you know, that that milk's been in there. I don't know when I cooked that those potatoes, when I made that quinoa, is that is that two days old or is it a month old? What's happening? Do I look different?
Do I. Who am I? I kind of know I definitely know who I am. Where are you at? Jesus fucking Christ. I got another covid test because I think I'm just going to do that every couple of weeks because I can.
Makes me feel better for a few days. Spend the afternoon at Dodger Stadium, not for the game. It's different now. Never went to Dodger Stadium for a game, I just go to the parking lot to get a swab, swab my mouth and stick it in a test tube, throw it in a thing dilator later.
Negative. And that is good until the next time I walk into a store or buy a person. Got my haircut. What am I just rambling now? I don't have better, bigger things to say about things. Wish I could fucking sweep, right, so listen, Ellen Page is on the show, you know her from her acting in films like Juno, Inception, the X-Men movies, her documentary show Glycation. I just watched a documentary that she produced and directed co directed called There's Something in the Water, which is about environmental racism in Canada.
That streaming on Netflix. Fill your head up with the reality. Let your heart sink in the hopelessness. Kamala Harris, Biden's VP pick up that got everybody excited for a couple of days.
We'll see. We'll see what happens. It's starting to feel like the fix is in the big authoritarian. Powwow. The grifter cluster fuck the militaristic shit show. The complete brain annihilation. Of the Spirit of America is upon us. I don't want to say I told you so, but kind of I didn't tell you so, but sort of on the pulse of this ship, but it could go down now. This is the way I think all the time, I don't I don't know how you think.
You know, there's a lot going on in terms of trying to keep your sanity in this time of plague and political upheaval and delusional bullshit, and also there's a revelation at hand in that it's really kind of interesting to see how people that you respect and even like and maybe know kind of well and thought were smart or fucking dumb.
Just dumb, have no idea how to contextualize news or information, have no basic understanding of science. I was talking to somebody I don't know that well about the future and about the nature of what we're going through with this virus problem.
And this person said, yeah, you know, they just keep changing, you know, what we should be doing and what's going on. It just keeps changing. There's no you know, they and the tone was that, like, we're being fucked with somehow as opposed to it's a new disease.
We don't know anything about it, really. We're learning. And things are going to evolve in terms of how we see national safety, global safety, personal safety around this fucking illness. It's like I don't believe them because they keep they keep changing their ideas around it because they don't know.
So the lack of information on the scientific front is evolving. That's the scientific process.
What's this, what's this, what's this? OK, it's not those. Try this, try this, try this. All right. Those didn't work. What about this? That worked. All right. So let's stay on this trajectory now. Let's go back. Try this, try this.
Try this. The process. What are people, children, why don't they fix it, and I just I fucking fell through the goddamn floor of my sense of self the other night when I woke up and waking consciousness, because for me, it was always like, hey, man, you know, whether it's a fantasy or not, if I got a good passport, you know, I could at least go somewhere.
Now, that's meaningless because we're pig people.
Then the back of my brain is like, what if we got to get out? How bad is it going to get? They're going to be blood. They're going to be blood in the streets. Do I need to get a gun? I can't just get one. Right.
And what what are you going to be fighting against exactly?
I actually had that moment. It's like, fuck, are all the guns gone? No, they're not. God bless America. Plenty of guns for everybody. Maybe just a bat would be good and just swing my bat. Swing my way out of the apocalypse. Here's what I learned, depending on what kind of brain you have, maybe don't read Chris Hedges as you're falling asleep. Maybe that's not the thing to do. Big fan of Chris Hedges.
But when you read him, not only do you think that you're not doing enough and that you don't know enough and that you're not smart enough and that you're not seeing things properly.
But if you don't do something soon, the absolute worst is going to happen. And he's been ringing this bell a long time around what's happening in this country. And I can recommend a piece for you that you should read nothing funny about it, and it will fuck your day up and may fuck your brain up, but it might be what is up. Go look up, go find Chris Hedges, America's Death March. Now, I don't know if you're familiar with him.
He's written some great books.
Mr. Hedges, I've talked to him back in the day, tried to make them laugh, got him laughing.
But it doesn't matter. I mean, they used to be my agenda when I was back at Air America. We do the you know, I get these heavy hitters on. I just be like, I wonder if I can get him to giggle. I wonder if I can get that guy. Reporter On the beat of the bin Laden situation, was it Peter Bergen?
Yeah, Peter Bergen. We to talk to him a lot.
And he was like the guy writing about bin Laden and the terrorism. And I just in my mind, we get him on the phone and I wonder if I can get Bergen to crack up whenever I can get Chris Hedges to laugh. Like, what is the big victory? Let him say their horrible truth. Let that sink in. Liberals don't want the horrible truth tellers laughing.
They just want the horrible truth. And to feel like all hope is lost and to get angry. And then if that's fixed, move on to another horrible truth.
Fortunately, there are so many happening simultaneously that there's no shortage.
Chris Hedges, America's death march. Maybe do it in the mid-afternoon. Don't do in the morning. Don't do it before you go to bed and don't do it if your brain is at a tipping point already in terms of just how fucking bad the turn to authoritarianism can get, logically illustrated in a realistic way. Fucked me up. Thank you for I got a lot of beautiful fan art of my cat monkey.
I have to get framed. My point is the things that are going on is that like how things in your head, how how's things in your house, how's things in your, in your area. You know, there's that there's the the sort of hygiene of the head, the hygiene of your house, how you keep yourself safe out in the world, and then there's the world that's rough. But your head in your house can be all right, your neighborhood could be all right, the weather could be all right.
And every once in a while you slip into these maybe a half hour, maybe an hour, maybe 10 minutes where you like.
It's nice. It's nice to be alive.
And then the fucking world comes bearing down on you, but sometimes if the head is nice and the weather's nice and your house is nice, you might be able to get a couple hours in where you remember what it's like to be you and the life you once had.
So here's the thing with Ellen Page, I was nervous about it and I get nervous about all of them, as you know, all of my interviews. It's always a certain amount of anxiety and dread going into it.
Only because I don't know the person and I know she's a sensitive person, she's socially active person, a concerned person, empathetic person.
Watch the documentary, seen her movies. Respect her, but I also knew that she had done a movie with Lynn.
She did touchy feely with Lynne, and that was back in 2013. She did touchy feely with Lynn back in 2013.
So she had worked with Lynn Shelton and I knew that I wanted to talk to her about that, but I don't I didn't know when.
And I felt that from the beginning that was sort of underneath it. She knew it, too. And I chose to wait. Because they didn't want to start crying if I did at the beginning, so I tried to hold on to it, but I felt that was sort of an undercurrent of what was going on for a lot of the interview, just sort of like, when's that going to come up?
I had a plan, though. I had a plan.
But this was nice talking to her, it was nice talking to Ellen Page once we got the hang of each other. It worked out very nicely. She's currently in the umbrella academy on Netflix. Seasons one and two are now streaming.
As I mentioned earlier, the documentary she co directed, There's Something in the Water which is heavy but important information to see how corporations are heartless fucking cancers on the face of the planet most of the time that streaming on Netflix as well.
And this is me talking to Ellen Page.
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How are you? Yeah, how are you doing? I'm OK. I'm OK. Are you outdoors? Are you in a are you.
Yeah, I'm in I'm in a cabin right now. Yeah. Oh, that's nice. Yeah, I watched I watched the Something in the Water documentary.
Oh wow. And it was really informative and really, you know, opened my mind to stuff and I never like I don't know anybody from Nova Scotia that seems like outside of we can get into the corporate horror and environmental racism. But let's talk about Nova Scotia for a minute, Ken.
Sure. Yeah. Is it an island? It is an island. Kind of. Right or. No, it's a peninsula.
How many siblings you have to two siblings.
So three of you are just growing up in Nova Scotia and and your parents who are like, what's your like what's your dad do there?
My dad, the graphic designer and my mom is a retired elementary school teacher.
A teacher? Yeah. When I talk to people who have teachers for parents, it seems like usually it's a real gift. They seem to encourage their children to do what they want to do with a certain amount of support. Yeah, yeah.
No, no. For sure. Yeah, I can see that. Yeah. And like, what were you doing, you know, what kind of stuff did you get involved with when you were younger? What were your interests, how did you end up in the arts. Was it always something you were interested in.
I mean like yes and no. When I was a kid I was mostly like sports and video games and, you know. Yeah, that kind of I'm for sure. And then but was always really wanting to go to the, you know, the drama productions at school and the high school ones, even though I have no idea what was going on and my mom would take me like the right I have some very clear, you know, fixation on whatever that is, you know.
Yeah. Yeah. And then essentially I was in school and I was ten. And this wonderful man, John Dunsworth, who has since passed, he he came to my class looking for kids.
So like auditioned for this CBC movie of the week called Pit Pony.
Yeah. And I just got, like, you know, picked to go audition for it. And then I auditioned for I think I auditioned for it twice. And then in this, you know, CBC movie Pit Pony, and then that that movie turned into a TV show which we shot in Cape Breton, just an island in Nova Scotia, the mainland to the north. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful place. That's how it all started. And then it just continued from there.
And lots of strange ways, I suppose.
So you weren't even really acting. You were just interested. And there was a guy, a director who was auditioning kids.
Yeah, well, he was a yeah. A casting director. And he's a phenomenal actor himself. John Dunsworth played Mr. Lahey and the show Trailer Park Boys, which is which is a show that. Right. Massive. Massive of in Canada and has a bigger following elsewhere now.
And it's a comedy show. Right. And then I was on Trailer Park Boys when I was like, I think I was thirteen, thirteen or fourteen maybe.
That must have been huge. It was fun, but long time ago now. But yeah. So that's essentially how it began. I think it was a nice way to begin that way because here you are, you're just like, you know, I'm in Nova Scotia.
It's still nobody was not supportive, but it was definitely like, you know, this probably isn't your future. So keep up your grades, play the big soccer player, play soccer, etc.. Yeah. And then I just sort of kept working more and more and more. And then I, I left Halifax at sixteen and moved to Toronto and just committed to helping that I could make this happen.
What did you train at all or did you just go with it and learn on the job. I just yeah. I just went with it and learn on the job. But I suppose, you know, it's just like around so many, you know, incredible people all the time. Right. And working with all these extraordinary good directors and writers in Canada. Fantastic actors. Yeah. You know, constantly feeling inspired and learning so much. Yeah. Just sort of.
They just continued. Yeah.
And also I mean it seems like you have this sort of natural, almost genetic emotional inclination that makes a good actor and like a good sort of activist as well, is that, you know, that kind of sensitivity and empathy and ability to connect fairly quickly to somebody else's emotional experience.
Yeah, I mean, I think for me, it's been one of the most incredible gifts doing this job in terms of being in a society where we're changing more and more in the way as we speak of these things that so encourage like not to feel, you know, like, well, to not connect with our emotions. Because it can, you know, can scare us or, you know, what have you, and I think to have a job where, like, your literal job is to connect with just like other, you know, you know, a character, I suppose.
I don't know what other word you use for. Yeah. To just, like, really connect with that person on a deep, deep level. Right. And go to perhaps different spaces in yourself that you weren't necessarily aware of or things come out. You know, it's really an incredible experience. And then you hope obviously. Yes. People watching the work or when I watch work that really moves me, you know, you have to sort of shared emotional experience and connection to each other, whether it's just like fun and joyous or painful or.
So. When you like, when you do, because I've talked to actors about it before and like I, it's a very different answer for for for all of them, it seems about, you know, how much, you know, doing a particular character sort of informs them forever in a lasting way.
And it sounds like you've had that experience probably a few times where you do a role and it does introduce you to a part of yourself that you didn't know. And then you can then sort of integrate that for better, for worse into your life. Yeah.
And I think that it's interesting when I think about that when I was like younger kid in a teenager, especially like when roles started to become, you know, mid teens, late teens, just like more intense, you know, you know, a lot more to it and, you know, some really awful scenes to shoot traumatic things. And I feel like when I was younger, it was actually kind of probably quite tricky to know how to compartmentalize, to know how to set it aside and write, because you're also you're experiencing so many things for the first time.
You're yourself like you're really, truly, you know, you're starting to discover and figure out how to establish, you know, some kind of sense of an individual identity and an authentic voice that like going through all those things that we're always going through in our lives, that particularly as teenagers, I do think about certain like roles and in situations in that time. And now it's nice to have the experience where you are able to, like, take certain things with certain things, hold on to something if that feels necessary, don't if you know much more able to kind of navigate that right.
Emotional aspect of the flow of the work and also life, I would imagine.
And life. Yeah. That thing to working on that one. Right.
Yeah. That work never seems to stop because there's always so many curveballs thrown at you.
And when he started getting the attention, did you ever live out here?
I'm in L.A.. Yeah, I lived in L.A. for like ten years. Oh yeah.
And you moved out here. You know what? And when you did the first X-Men or when did you come out?
No, I moved out sort of right after what Juno came out OK to properly move there and live there. So I would have been like twenty one.
And because I know that sort of like for probably for not better or worse but for worse, I mean that sort of shaped your I think that the elements of show business that are kind of disgusting has sort of shaped some of your your social activism and also just who you are as a public person.
Did you feel that right away when you got out here?
Did you have any fun initially in that period? It's a really good question. And. You know, the honest the honest answer to that is. You know, I fell in love with a woman for the very first time, you know, after we'd shot Juno before. The film came out and and I and I just remember very much like Juno came out, obviously that changed things in an instant. There's incredible things that come with that clearly. But yes, then the sort of aspect of, you know, people can't know you're gay.
You know, wear like the dresses and the heels and all these things to make it seem like this is who you are, you know, that became he just became such a massive part of my experience.
These were the people that were surrounding you, that were managing your career or you this it was well, you know, you you can't not include yourself because you go along with it.
Yes, but I wasn't. Well, and I think, you know, individuals who were expressing that and who have had conversations, you know, long conversations with about that time and apology, you know, there's really I think the thing that is so fucked up is, you know, the thought of in that time is, oh, we're just you know, we're trying to do our job and help you and, like, help your career and all of this.
But what a needless to say, a horrible thing to be, to even just be let alone, you know, to be experiencing that at the time, becoming very, quite known overnight, then kind of, you know, after having some growth and evolution in terms of self discovery and then that just sort of being squashed a little bit on that.
But then you feel, you know, it's so you're so fucking also like you're so, you know, so fortunate, you know, gives me the career. It gives me, like, such immense privilege and opportunity. And so you also feel like, oh, I don't think I'm allowed like, should I be talking about my pain like that feels you know, you feel like you can.
Like, you know, even now it's like I still have a hard time talking about that period. To be honest. So my experience was. You know, it's hard to know what to say, because even though, you know, amazing all these things are happening, this other aspect of it was just not it was incredibly, incredibly painful and difficult to say it like, you know. Yeah.
I mean, emotional trauma is is real. I mean, you know, in life defining and, you know, kind of recovering from your own part in it, you know, in the in the sort of PTSD of that of of not allowing yourself to engage with that part of yourself.
That kind of detachment necessary to live like that is, you know, it's it's destructive to you know, it's just a destructive thing. I mean, it's a real you know, it's a real trauma.
I mean, you know, the shame is just so incredibly toxic and just it affects every aspect of who you are. It affects your mind. It affects you physically. It affects the way you relate to the world.
It's, you know, just because, like, that's how you that's the lens you see yourself through because of the situation.
Well, I think, you know, let's you know, OK, you're having this experience at this age in Hollywood. You've also had the entire experience of your life, like growing up gay, you know, and growing up gay. And, you know, Halifax, Nova Scotia. I'm not you know, I'm you know, I'm thirty three now, you know. I mean.
Yeah, but you knew, you know, it wasn't, you know, like.
Yes, but not you know. And so, you know, you also just have all of that, you know, your experience in school or getting teased or.
Yeah. You know, chase to be beaten up or whatever, you know, it's like or just all the things that are happening in your life in the midst of all that, just pertaining to that sort of one issue in terms of your identity. Right. And so. Yes. So then you're you're kind of you know, you're experiencing all of that. And all of that shame that's already been like living in you for so long, right, and then on, you know, and then on top of that, you're getting this, you know, perverse and, you know, violent attention from men, you know, sexually who can't read that at all.
And then, you know, you have to deal with that kind of assault on top of your own personal shame in your own struggle to sort of, you know, become who you want to be.
You mean in terms of working with certain people in the industry? Oh, yeah, awful. Just like I remember one night at a party in L.A., like one of my best friends, you know, birthday parties. And this guy, he works in the industry and he you know, he was clearly like not sober at the time, but that's irrelevant.
And he was just being really homophobic. Uh huh. Just saying, like crazy shit to me. I just it's like I kept trying to get him to stop. People weren't really, like, doing anything and he wouldn't it wouldn't stop. And then it turned into, like, all these, you know, explicit sexual comments about how I'll do this. So you won't be, you know, just horrible, horrible, fucking horrible. Yeah. Well, I think that's like that was like, you know, that was that was like the package all in one.
But early on, like when he said that, you know, you fell in love with a woman for the first time when you were, you know. Right when Juno happened. So you're struggling with this public image and the maintenance of a false public image in. Was that a relationship which was that someone you were with and had to deal with that with you?
Yeah. And what you know, what was that dynamic? How were those discussions? What, you know, did did that, you know, help you in any way or was it just totally destructive?
I mean, she. You know, so I don't think anybody ever asked me this in this way. I mean, she was incredibly like, you know, supportive. Was like such an overwhelming time. Yeah, right. And I think, you know, it was it obviously, you know, it's not like sure, you know, not to sound so eloquent, but it's helped. And, you know, you're just navigating it and it's, you know, it's hurting your relationship.
And it's just like, you know, you're not having the experiences, you know, other in relationships because you're kind of you're tearing yourself apart because you're living in these two different worlds.
You can't be out and having a good time in public like you might want to be. And then the person that you're with has to be supportive, but also has to watch your inner struggle manifesting all the time what you want to do, you think, and how they.
Yeah, how, you know, it's internalizing for them and they are feeling or so definitely not easy. And another part. Right. Yeah. How toxic it is when people are put in these positions.
Well, I mean, I read that like I don't know what the timeline is. I mean, I read the I watched the you coming out at the human rights event and then I read the Facebook page, the Facebook thing you wrote about Ratner. That's later, right. Much later, right. Yeah.
What year did you come out publicly? One. When did that happen?
2014. I was 27. I was just about to. Twenty seven. Yeah.
Wow. It's a long time, huh? Yes, but it was one of those situations where people knew, right? You mean like just people? Yeah, yeah.
You know, my life in the industry. Yeah, totally.
And but, you know, it took time. It took time and significant time to get more and more comfortable with. With that right, like, you know, before coming out publicly, it was very like, OK, here's just like, you know, now I'm ready to really do this. But, you know, leading up until that point, it was very just yes, I assumed it was like, you know, it wasn't something that I was, like, hiding necessarily in my personal life anymore.
Right. Just hadn't sort of done that, you know, taken that like public public step. But it took you know, it took it took time to even just get comfortable with, like mentioning that my girlfriend was coming to visit when I'd be shooting a film or something like it took me a long time to even get there. And then someone might say something to you who thinks they're being I don't know what they're thinking, like another actor. Right.
That could be like one little comment that they never remember. You know, so many of the things that have been said to me that, like, can then really make you go, you know, and like, kind of get scared again, you know. Right. Or an agent say something or somebody make a joke and you get scared like, you know, it's some kind of comment can be made as well. I mean, that could then make you go like, oh, no.
And like kind of retract away. So it became like a bit of that kind of an experience. It's terrible.
It's like because you're you know, you seem very kind of, you know, sensitive and I'm pretty sensitive.
But I you know, over years, you really learn how to. Kind of navigate in a in a with a certain guard up, you know, and it's just sort of becomes a thing and, you know, it becomes a difficult thing to believe that that being out in the world and being sensitive is good.
You know, like, what's the point of that? Right. That just seems fucking crazy.
So during all that time you started, you just build up a certain amount of strength around your your life and your your life decisions and your lifestyle and a certain comfort. And then, like, I imagine the day that you decide to do that, you like to come out like at what point?
I guess that's a question, because I have found this in my own life a bit that.
I mean. When do you realize that you're part of your responsibility in your own personal struggle is to.
To sort of, you know, provide an example or some sort of hope for other people, you know, like because it seems like you're very aware of that now and that in your particular situation, the struggle to, you know, sort of be who you are, be comfortable with it, be public about it in a world where, you know, there there is violence and judgment and.
You know, lack of justice for people who are marginalized, when do you realize, I imagine your personal struggle gets sort of at some point gets sort of the back seat to, you know, what is a public problem?
And did that coincide with you deciding to come out or did you realize that after.
No, I think I think it coincided in many ways because I always, you know, hopefully will want to continue to operate from a place of like with privilege, with platform. You know, we we just must be using it, right? Absolutely. It's just it's just crucial. It's just what we should be doing. And I think, needless to say, when you're living in a space where you literally cannot be who you are and how much that the toll that it does take on you and then to sort of get through that.
Yeah. And I feel like. This can be a lot to talk about, quite frankly, I think when you you do go through. You know, certain times in one's life that are are not easy, that go to some scary places. And then you realize, you know, on top of that, some degree of privilege and how fortunate you are knowing that certain resources I had to heal to get better, to get help, all of these certain things that, you know, a lot of people just don't even have I don't even have access to.
Right. And I think it's a matter of in terms of those aspects coming together was very much like, OK, like now I'm in this place where I'm out. I'm talking about this. And like now I can really go just make this work that I really, really want to make. You know, whether it was, you know, making a documentary with my vacation and in general just making films with queered stories, roles, et cetera. And so that was, I'd say, like a big jumping off point in terms of, OK, now like.
Like, just really wanting to move forward. That must be a relief.
It was yes, it was just being really you know, it crazy, though, that the day after I came out, I flew like the next morning to Montreal to do reshoots for X-Men. Like a day, I think. Two days maybe. Yeah. And then I get on the plane to fly back and a priest was sitting behind me. Yeah.
And maybe like a couple hours into the flight, I felt a little light on my shoulder and he handed me a note and I was thinking, oh, OK, maybe it's just like a really cool progressive, you know? And then it was just this, like, awful note he wrote. Like, I took the liberty of Googling you and found out about your recent announcement and then wrote me a whole handwritten letter about, like, you're going to hell.
Not you're going to hell, but, you know, when they write, when they're saying you're going to hell, that they they write it in a nice way.
Yeah, right, right, right. That you're lost and that you're sinning and that, you know, Jesus is a massive relief, like one hundred percent.
But then that was a very like a reminder on a plane two days like two days later. Yeah.
Just, you know. Yeah, this is still this is still here. Yeah. This will never go away.
Do you get do you get a lot of unsolicited hate.
I guess. No hate but you know what I mean. Yeah.
I mean just no like very rarely. It's usually just if. You know, you've talked about something in terms of wanting wanting marginalized people not to suffer and people get very upset about that.
So for some reason, like, you'll get hatred out of like. Right. Wanted to think about the LGBTQ equality in general or thinking about how, you know, something acrophobic or what have you, right. Or what have you. So that's when he comes out. But yeah.
Yeah, it's just that hopefully these people that, you know, religious people, I understand more than just people who are so threatened by other that they seem, you know.
That there's no way to change their mind, there's no way to make them see it differently unless something just by coincidence happens in their life, that that makes them realize it like something that they love or somebody they know has, you know, an experience that, you know, jogs them out of their hatred. But it doesn't seem that there's any there's no teachable sort of magic trick that's going to get these people to to act like fucking humans. It's frustrating.
Yeah, yeah. Tell me about it. I mean, I you know, I think people can and do change. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. I've seen people in my whole life who have. I have. Yeah. In so many ways. So that's where I try and. So it was like hope and love when I start getting angry, because I've also, you know, with the show I make, you know, with bias, where we traveled around the world to explore, you know, LGBTQ communities in different countries.
Yeah, it's great.
It's great. It's a great show. It's it's very gutsy what you do. You know, when you stay in, you know, you put yourself at a certain amount of emotional and even physical risk to to hold your ground. And it's very it's great. It's great show.
Yes, that is an example of talking to people where, you know, you can find yourself just trying to, like, pour your heart out to connect in your mind, you're like, how can this person not just how can we not just like, look at each other, share a moment and come to the conclusion that loving each other and accepting each other is just totally the better way to go, like for everybody. And.
Well, what's what's been your experience walking away from those situations where that doesn't happen? How do you explain it? Oh, I don't know.
I mean, that's where I was going to go with that, because, like, in the end, you know, you're having this conversation and it's just like you're not. But this is like one you know, it's obviously short in the show, but it's like maybe a two hour conversation. You're not spending. You're not like. Right. You know, in a reality show where you're like roommates for two weeks or something.
Roommates for Ted Cruz for two weeks or a man. Yeah.
I mean, I don't you know, I don't know I don't know how to explain it apart. Yeah. And you're mostly reflecting on, like, the individual and those certain spaces we go to that are, you know, incredibly risky and people just. Just being themselves and the rest of their lives every day, which is the same in many places here, too, don't get me wrong, but you know what I'm saying. So you walk away from some situations feeling.
You know, more inspire than I've ever been and any of their situations where you just sort of heartbroken by a place that people seem to get, where they think a certain way about others, that is it's quick, it's cruel. Get to the level of cruelty that and a lot of it. That's really awful. And so much of what stuck with me and, you know, certain situations making that show.
And also just sort of like I mean, I was trying to think about because it seems that, you know, I don't I don't know which movie that that experience you had with Brett Ratner was that the first of the X-Men movies?
It was the third X-Men movie. The third one. And the first one I did. I was 18. Yeah, OK.
So that OK. Right.
But just to be in because like to realize, you know, in retrospect and to to kind of sort of put that moment in that, that reality into perspective, you know, as a as when you did it on Facebook like and then to sort of realize it like that was just people just put up with that shit.
And they still do that that guy thought he was being funny, right? Honestly, it's that whole situation and that that film that was just the worst. It's like the worst. The worst. And I mean, I've written about it. So it's not like I'm saying something new by any means. But and then, you know, I reference the couple experiences, other experiences, just ones in the at the age of 16. But it's like. You know, the amount that I could write or stories I could tell and then, you know, and obviously we're having a different conversation about it, but it's like, you know, you still see this behavior happening.
You still see individuals having, you know, successful careers. Right.
But by calling him out and he got called out for other things just by, you know, putting you on the spot in a vulnerable place and, you know, outing you in a way that was hostile and, you know, and aggressive and then like I mean, beyond hostile and aggressive and like encouraging someone next to this, like, it's like I don't even want to say it like that.
One comment you made is awful, right?
Encouraging someone else in the cast publicly in that moment in front of other people to to have sex with you as a member of the crew.
But yeah. Oh, remember the crew. Yeah. Yeah.
And making everybody you know, just like. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then everybody just standing there like what the fuck just happened.
Yeah. I mean you know it's just because he's the director you got to move on. Yeah.
And the thing is, is like it seems that the hardest part about that, about that being the status quo is that, you know, it's so.
Like ingrained in the the power structure of the business that, you know, in order for them to see that they're being inappropriate or totally wrong is difficult, like it takes a lot.
Yes, you know, and I think that that that cultural moment of educating, you know, people about behavior and about sensitivity and about, you know, respect, you know, it was a long time coming.
And I think it's possible. But, you know, these the bigger monsters you have seem to have a lot of them have been made examples in. And I think that serves to you make lesser monsters, rethink who they are, which is good.
Yeah. And I think, too, like what you said in terms of people becoming more aware of, like, you know, sensitivity, etc., it's like there's a counter to it of, oh, you're being too sensitive. Oh, you can't take a joke. You know, that kind of energy. Oh, why can't you like why do you have to get so emotional or whatever, you know, all these things that are said just like it's also like when I think of that, Brett.
Comments and others like his behavior in general or other things that have been said to me in this industry, and you just think of like, OK, you made that comment. Do you have any concept of just how awful that is?
Regardless of like any of my personal experience or anything, it is just plain awful that if we're looking at in terms of your sensitivity to joke, whatever, it's like like, you know, the experiences people have had in their own world at their intersection of identity, and then you go and make some comment that you think so fucking funny joke when you have absolutely no clue what's going on in someone's life. Right. What they could be dealing with at the time in terms of that very thing you're speaking of publicly in front of people?
Yeah, it's like not only is it awful and not funny and I mean, it's like it's it's it's very dangerous. And I find when people are being so dismissive of people saying you need like, hey, this thing you just said or what you're saying right now about, you know, this community is hurtful and, you know, and the response is so dismissive.
Take a joke. Just. Yeah, like let's all just like, take a moment. Yeah. And give people an opportunity, like never really have an opportunity to like, express how they feel and how that makes me feel. And, you know, we've all had to do work in our own ways. Right. I don't you know, we've all had to grow and evolve.
And, you know, I like I'm not trying to, but I am just saying, like, we need to understand that the right stuff is, you know, it's hurtful and it's dangerous and it can provoke, you know, anything from, you know, verbal abuse to physical abuse to, you know, to violence, you know, to murder.
I mean, like the like in and in self-harm, like self-harm.
That's another point. Yeah. I mean, gives people license, you know, self harm through shame and physical harm through, you know, feeling entitled to be violent.
Yeah, I understand all that. And it's it's pretty devastating. But I just was thinking yesterday because you said like something just rang with me. I interviewed Leah Remini yesterday about Scientology and. And she's I like her and but she one of the tools in dealing with these kids who grew up in it, who were separated from their parents and were having emotions, was to, you know, quit crying, suck it up. You know, like the same type of thing is what you're talking about, you know, with the status quo of the power dynamic in the business and how lesser people like that, it comes down from the top.
But, you know, everybody's sort of like, you know, don't be so sensitive. Just, you know, succored is the way he is and whether it's the same kind of gaslighting, brainwashing shit.
I mean, that's literally what happened. As I referenced in the op ed about the Brett Ratner incident, that two producers came to my trailer because I had been on set like. You know, not wanting to put up with it, you know, and it was basically like, we know it's an issue, but, you know, you can't talk to him that way. And we need to. Yeah, we need to. You know, we're all just so aware.
And then when I wrote that op ed, I get an email from one of the producers that's like, oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I had no idea. I didn't write back. I wanted to be like, you were the person I was talking about. Right. Right.
And that's when the email was them covering their own ass, I suppose.
Yes, but but like, you know, given that, you know, there has been some at least, you know, cultural attention in some small amount of justice in some of these situations, how how much did it affect, you know, your relationship with Hollywood either in getting work or even wanting to work there after coming out and everything, you mean?
Yeah, that's what made me want to keep doing the work again, to be honest, I think I in the time of just being so closeted and not well and certain ways, I didn't feel and I wasn't feeling inspired. I wasn't. Wasn't living as my true self, I I had those thoughts in my early twenties, but, God, I don't know if this is how I feel now, like I'm not I'm not so sure, you know, in periods where I just sort of like like left and go back to Nova Scotia.
But then I work again. And and then it was really coming out. And making the steps I wanted to make in my life that made me love the work again and made me want to tell stories that mean something to my heart and use the privileges and the resources I have to hopefully, you know, help in any way I possibly can with what I have. Yeah.
And you worked with, like, a woman that I was, you know, involved with. You know, it looks like right before you came out ish, you worked with the wind shelton on touchy feely. Yeah.
I'm so sorry, Mark. What was it what was your experience with her? Oh, my. My experience with Lynn was extraordinary. When was the kind of human being that made you want to be a better human being? Right. She was the kind of person who. You felt an overwhelming sense of joy working on the set every morning and seeing her as she was just a person who was nothing but. Heart, yeah, and so deeply sincere and generous and.
Made work, at least for me, it seems, out of just such deep love for what it means to be a human being in the world and the joy of it and the pain of it. And. When was. Absolutely, one of the best directors I've ever worked with and, you know, I'm really lucky that our cross paths crossed. Yeah. And I'm incredibly sorry for your loss. Yeah.
Everybody everybody lost somebody great there, you know. Yeah. In terms of telling the stories that you're telling now and thank you for saying that. Like, I find that like even watching, you know, something in the water, which I guess you did last year, the documentary about.
The environmental racism and the corporate exploitation of of land and and the destruction of communities of, you know, marginalized people.
I like going into that. First, I want to ask you after watching it, because I don't know if I if I if I understood at the very end, has anything good happened in any of those stories since you made the movie?
Well, Boat Harbor, which was the the you know, the way the mill effluent was going to land and First Nations that have been closed. So that now is on the process of healing and. Oh, yeah. And, you know, it'll be a long process to get it clean and to where it needs to be. But yes, that that's huge. Is that right now the. And then a new community, well, we'll be going in to Shelburn soon, and then the situation with open gas is like, you know, ongoing.
But they are they've kind of there's been a good road block for them, so. Oh, yeah. So they're they can't operate for a while now and then I think. Yeah. And then the grassroots grandmothers obviously are still in their hard against them and you know, it's like endless.
There's always so in the community of the the older black community of that Shelburn. Right.
That Shelburn now because like when I was watching I was like, you know, if if this is what's necessary, did did this did the government take care of it or did somebody step in and provide the well? Somebody stepped in. Yeah, no shit. Yeah, yeah. That was like sort of the amazing thing about that story that, you know, for people who haven't seen the film, Something in the Water, it's a documentary is you know, this was a, you know, a community that what was it in the 60s?
In the 40s, they built that dump. Mm hmm. Yeah.
This happens. You know, this has happened in the states to that. And then they just bury it and then it just destroys the well water and everyone gets cancer.
But, you know, when it comes down to solving the problem, they can't get government attention.
And it's and the money that would be required to help, you know, turn everything around is so small.
And it did take private charity to do that. Yes.
But even that was you know, that was a whole thing to even o for them to do it with private money.
It was a bit. Yeah.
I mean, there was just always it always felt like obstacles where they didn't need to be. But clearly this is all literally what environmental racism is, you know, a disproportionate amount of landfills, industrial pollution placed in black and indigenous communities and the and the lack of government response. But that's just one of the biggest ones.
Like I mean, yeah, it's a sort of like, you know, a kind of genocide through negligence after a certain point is a continuation.
Like even now in the world that we're here in the States, it just seems like, you know, part of the you know, the incompetence around dealing with the spread of the coronaviruses, that it's affecting marginalized people disproportionately to to white people.
And I have to assume that this particular administration is fine with that on some level.
Well, I mean, if you look at, you know, what they've said in their actions, what else would one, you know, beyond an environmental racism plays into that? A huge part, because if you're living in one of those communities. Yeah, you're you know, higher cancer rates, higher respiratory illnesses. And then in terms of that intersecting with the virus, you know, more so none of these things are are separate.
You know, it's awful. It's all terrible. I know.
I know. I can take your dog asleep right there, though.
That's good. Well, you got to hold on to those moments. Yeah, no, I mean, it's every time it's a goddamn struggle.
And I mean, I didn't know where, you know, where you were at and getting into the conversation because, you know, you're, you know, we're all, you know, people who are sensitive to this stuff. And it's just the weight of it on a day to day basis is is is pretty hard to deal with. You know, mine's been compounded by some, you know, these other things that happen. But but it's like I it's relentless.
So, you know, what are you doing, you know, just on a day to day basis to keep some level of like, well, you're out in the woods, you've got a dog, you're with your wife.
I imagine so. That's nice, right?
Yeah. I mean, you know, I think of like my experience compared to what other people are dealing with the last time. And it's like I'm I'm totally fine. And I, you know, we hang out, walk the dog. We'd been doing a lot of press, you know, just like doing press for.
Oh, for the umbrella. Yeah. I mean, really, I talk about that. Is that fun for you. Do you have fun.
I have so much fucking fun and I think the season is really, really fucking good. But I'm happy to talk about whatever you want to talk about. Well that's good. That's enough.
You know, that's a good pitch. But yeah. Know that I fucking I love the show and I had a blast this season, so. Good. Well that's good. I suggest people check it out.
And your wife's a choreographer. Yeah. Now was this something like kids like dance is one of my blind spots in terms of really appreciating, you know, the art of it in the history of it and even the performance of it. Was that something? Did you were you into it before you knew her?
No, I wasn't that familiar. And the first time I saw her was on Instagram, a band that I love. So then so I don't know if you know them or so. So I know.
Yeah. Yeah, I do. I know. So yeah. Sylvan Esso. Yeah. Yeah. And they reposted a video from Anna's Instagram of her, you know, dancing to one of their songs. And I just was like holy. I just was like what the fuck is that. Yeah. What is that.
Yeah. So extraordinary. I was so moved. I was like is it. And then I was like looking at her other videos and I like yourself, didn't have any real exposure to dance. So this was the sort of whole new thing I was even seeing. And then I followed her on Instagram and I was like how our whole first connection even even began. And then obviously from being with her have been introduced more dance and it. It's incredible, you should honestly watch your work, you're going to be annoying, but it's like it's so she is so extraordinary.
She's just absolutely one of the most talented people I've ever known.
Well, I definitely will, you know, because I find that I'm very I get pretty sensitive that like like even like any sort of theater if we ever get back to it. But like, even musicals and I've said it a lot, like I even if a musical is happy, I'll cry just because there's so much expression, there's something about singing, there's something about people singing in a joyful way. And I think dance is the same way that you you don't know exactly how it's moving you, but it definitely is as an expression, very pure and and has a profound effect.
So I will check her out.
Oh, yeah, you must. Her work is just like, completely breathtaking. Yeah.
Well, look, I had this great talking to you and and thank you for doing what you do. And I'm glad you had a good time. You're somebody who I want to have a good time.
And yeah, I'm glad that you're excited about Umbro Academy. And I like it's so interesting. The two sides of you have something in the water over here and then you have umbrella academy over here.
So, you know, people can have a full, you know, full arc of an experience, you know, but I would watch Umbrella Academy after something in the water if you're going to do a doubleheader and they're both on Netflix.
So there you go. Really easy, really easy switch. You don't even need to go anywhere. You just go into the next one.
Yeah. So, well, take care of yourself and is good talking to you.
Thanks you too much. That was me and Ellen Page, heavy book, good. She's currently in the umbrella academy on Netflix, seasons one and two, you can see they're streaming and also the doc we talked about, there's something in the water also on Netflix. And I'm sorry, sometimes I realize that you're that that's my my little beard rubbing on the microphone. I will try to watch that and now I will play some guitar for you. And I'm going to go eat something after this, you guys.
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