Focus Features beat out Netflix for the film Boy Erased on June 8, according to Deadline. Joel Edgerton, who worked with Focus on Loving, scripted the film based on Garrard Conley’s memoir, Boy Erased, and will also direct and star.
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) will play a young Conley opposite Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, who will play Conley’s parents. In the film, Jared (played by Hedges) is outed to his parents (Kidman and Crowe) and sent to a gay conversion camp where he clashes with a therapist (Edgerton).
“I’m excited to work with an ensemble of actors, seasoned and new, to bring Garrard’s story to the screen,” said Edgerton. “I think Focus is the perfect partner on this, and I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story. I can’t think of a better reason to get behind the camera again.”
Conley addressed concerns over queer representation and portrayals in his upcoming film through a statement on his website. Conley wrote, “I hope that the publishing industry and Hollywood will continue to multiply a variety of queer stories, that we won’t end up with only ‘palatable’ queer stories involving masc-leaning buff white men. I hope you continue to have these discussions [of queer representation], and I hope Boy Erased will be able to function as a catalyst for such discussions.”
The project could not be in better hands. Edgerton has already earned a Directors Guild of America Award nomination for his first and only other directed film, The Gift. Focus Features has made and released many Academy Award winning queer films such as Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl and Milk.
Boy Erased begins production this fall for a 2018 theatrical release, announced June 21 by Focus chairman Peter Kujawski.