Freeheld (USA 2014)

Director:

Peter Sollett

Writer:

Ron Nyswaner

 

Executive Producer:

Doug Hansen, Adam Del Deo

Producer:

Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg, Kelly Bush

 

Novak, Jim Stern, Jack Selby, Cynthia Wade

 

Cast:

 

Julianne Moore

Laurel Hester

Ellen Page

Stacie Andree

Steve Carell

Steven Goldstein

Michael Shannon

Dane Wells

Luke Grimes

Todd Belkin

Mary Birdsong

Carol Andree

Dennis Boutsikaris

Pat Gerry

Skipp Sudduth

Reynolds

Jeannine Kaspar

Margaret

Kelly Deadmon

Lynda Hester

Gabriel Luna

Quesada

Stink Fisher

Jake

 

(Complete Cast & Crew)

Freeheld

Genre:

Drama / Documentary

Runtime:

103 minutes

Language:

English

Budget:

-

Filming dates:

29th September - 7th November 2014

Filming locations:

New York City, USA

Rating:

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, language and sexuality

World premiere:

13. September 2015 (Toronto International Film Festival)

Company / Studio:

Double Feature Films, Endgame Entertainment, High Frequency Entertainment, Head Gear Films

Official website:

www.freeheld.movie

IMDb website:

www.imdb.com/title/tt1658801/

DVD premiere:

2nd February 2016 (USA)


Downloads:

 

English Production Notes (USA)

(PDF Document, 729 KB)

Download


Plot:

Based on the Oscar-winning short documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is the true love story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the county officials, Freeholders, conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), unite in Laurel and Stacie's defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.

Awards:

  • LGBTQ Film of the Year (Dorian Award, GALECA 2015/16 Dorian Awards, 19th January 2016, Nomination)
  • Outstanding Film - Wide Release (GLAAD Media Award, 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, 2nd April 2016, Nomination)

Facts:

  • Ellen has been developing the project since she was 21.
  • Lionsgate landed the distribution rights for a high seven-figure fee during the Berlin Film Festival 2015
  • Seven years ago, while filming “Whip It”, Ellen was in a Detroit hotel room with her then girlfriend when she received an email containing a link to the trailer for the eponymous documentary that would galvanize her fight for gay rights.
  • With a domestic total gross of $573,335, the movie ran in 148 US theatres for 42 days (October 2 to November 12, 2015).

Quotes:

  • “The stories surrounding her [Laurel Hester] work are gripping and intense, and worthy of more coverage than I was able to fit into a short documentary. Those scenes should be very exciting! [...] It is important that the audience get to know Laurel and Stacie as an ordinary couple — loving each other, paying bills and setting up a home and everything else that comes with a long-term commitment — before we discover that Laurel is ill," Wade said. "I never knew Laurel and Stacie prior to Laurel’s illness — by the time I’d met them, their roles had settled into patient and caregiver. It’s really important, especially for the heterosexual audience, to see Laurel and Stacie’s relationship as any other." — filmmaker Cynthia Wade on making a feature film in comparison to documentary short (Source: afterellen.com)
     
  • "She saw the documentary and was moved by the story, She understands the potential power of a feature version of the film. She is a very smart and very talented. I am thrilled that she is involved in this project — she has countless offers to appear in many movies, and the fact that she is so strongly attached to this film is a testament to how special Laurel Hester was, and how important Laurel and Stacie’s story is to this country’s slow move towards true equality." — filmmaker Cynthia Wade on Ellen Page's attachment to the movie (Source: afterellen.com)
     
  • “It’s very direct in showing how discrimination against the LGBT community affects people. There’s no getting around the unfairness that happened here, and just how illogical and almost psychopathic it felt. And it’s so exciting to get to do a love story with the sex that you actually fall for. I’m thrilled about it.” — actress Ellen Page on the bottom line of the movie (Source: www.out.com)
     
  • “I remember just seeing the trailer for the documentary and I was instantly brought to tears. Tremendous love stories between women have been made, of course. Some of them are my favorite movies. But to have a love story that brings up the civil rights issue, in relation to women—that we haven’t seen enough in the forefront.” — actress Ellen Page on the documentary of the same name (Source: www.ew.com)
     
  • "It’s not often in the movies that we get to talk about our heroes. And to me, Laurel Hester is a hero — I knew that as soon as I came to know her story." — director Peter Sollett on Laurel Hester (Source: buzzfeed.com)
     
  • "The political story and the personal story are one for me,” Sollett said. “It’s always our own sort of issues that pop up when we’re falling in love. But unfortunately, on top of those, these women had to deal with the prejudice and the obstacles set up for them by their local government. But for me, they’re one and the same: The personal is the political." — director Peter Sollett on the movie (Source: buzzfeed.com)
     
  • "It was simply the most beautiful script I had ever read. It’s a very rare thing to find a piece of material that so accurately expresses one’s views about the world." — director Peter Sollett on what he drawn to the movie (Source: buzzfeed.com)
     
  • "Moore was research-oriented, and took the beautiful documentary and the journalism that was available on the subject and really internalized it. She made it her mission to become an expert on the life of Laurel Hester. And it infused her choices within the scenes, and this is an important guiding light for us because it kept us honest." — director Peter Sollett on Julianne Moore's approach toward connecting to her role (Source: buzzfeed.com)
     
  • "With Ellen, an actress we know and love and I think audiences completely embrace, I don't think it's wrong to use the words 'breakthrough performance.' She feels different, her physicality is different — the transformation is new. That was thrilling. She was incredibly excited about that; she was being more honest. I think she was exposing more of her personal life, more of herself." — director Peter Sollett on working with Ellen Page (Source: buzzfeed.com)
     
  • “These women were forerunners of this year’s case [the summer’s historic Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage]. They were very regular people. Laurel was a detective, and Stacie a mechanic. And for the first time in their lives, they were public about their sexuality in a way that they hadn’t wanted to be. So what they did was major. They really put themselves on the line.” — actress Julianne Moore on Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree (Source: Glamour USA - September 2015)
     
  • “Getting to play a lesbian was a pretty amazing feeling. It’s weird - you’d think I would have anticipated that. To do a love scene with a woman - particularly after being so closeted - in a film about two women who so inspired me, I can’t even find the words to describe the feeling.” — actress Ellen Page on working on Freeheld (Source: nowtoronto.com)
     
  • “What's amazing about her is that she absolutely loves what she does. You feel her excitement and curiosity, and she's such a hard worker. She's so meticulous, she really wants to get it right. I thought, 'Oh, she's going to be method, and that'll be an interesting experience.' We got on the set the first day, and she's just the most goofy, open, lovely person." — actress Julianne Moore on working with Ellen (Source: nowtoronto.com)
     
  • "People were so kind and generous about letting me learn. I told them I was keen on learning the process, particularly the financing process that I didn't understand. It was a great opportunity to learn what it takes to get funding for an independent film." — actress Ellen Page on her first steps as producer (Source: nowtoronto.com)
     
  • "Recreating a sort of closeted relationship in a film caused some stuff to surface, for sure. And then there’s [the matter] of speaking up or potentially owning an identity that I think does require a responsibility of trying to help move things forward. For Stacie, it was more complicated, because her being fully involved in that activism meant accepting that the love of her life was going to die, and that was a lot of the complication for her. I could not imagine something worse. But when she finally managed, in some way, to accept that idea, I think she could fully give herself to the activist part of it all.” — actress Ellen Page on the stuff that surfaced while playing Stacie (Source: out.com)
     
  • "I had a privileged position of working with her every day, and having an ongoing conversation with her about how [the work] was affecting her emotionally. 'Was it liberating? Was it intimidating? Are you feeling empowered?' I don’t think there will be another experience in my creative life where I get to share that with someone. A week or two into production, she told me it was one of the best experiences she’d ever had making a film. I think what she does in the movie feels like a breakthrough from an artist we’ve come to know and expect certain things from. Not only is she doing something new as an out woman playing an out woman in a mainstream Hollywood film, she’s giving us something that feels entirely fresh — like finding a room in your house that you didn’t know was there, or discovering another verse to your favorite song." — director Peter Sollett on working with Ellen (Source: out.com)
     
  • “It was interesting for me, because Ellen had just so recently come out [when we started filming]. And this is going to sound silly, and hopefully not hurtful on my part, but I don’t think I was aware of how painful it is to be closeted. I have the advantage of being a person who’s never had to hide my sexuality, so I asked her a lot of questions — frank questions — about what that feels like. She said she felt discomfort simply wearing all these dresses, and it was all very eye-opening for me. She was so unprotective [of herself] — I was very touched by that. It definitely made me more sensitive to the nuances of our movie." — actress Julianne Moore on working with Ellen (Source: out.com)
     
  • "I would really like it to be a big, mainstream hit, because I feel like it’s an important time in our culture. In the entertainment business, some people say we can effect change. I don’t know that we can effect change, but I do know that we reflect it. When there’s a Supreme Court judgment, generally, it’s because popular opinion has already changed. A majority of people in this country were in favor of marriage equality, and the Supreme Court made that ruling. And look! Suddenly, here is this movie that sort of reflects that back. So we’re ready as a culture to say, ‘Here. Look. Look how far we’ve come, and look what we’ve done.’" — actress Julianne Moore on the movie (Source: out.com)
     
  • "She said It's extremely emotional for her to talk about this experience. And she was incredible to us. And she is someone who really inspires me. She did something so crucial and important and at a time of unimaginable difficulty. It's hard to say thing she's happy with it but, you know, I do feel like she feels good about how we made something truthful and authentic to her experience." — actress Ellen Page on her interaction with Stacie Andree (Source: fox5dc.com)
     
  • "You have a responsibility to that person, to become as close to them as possible. You certainly want to try to capture the soul of them." — actress Julianne Moore on the pressures of playing a real person (Source: ew.com)
     
  • "When you’re telling a story about people who did something extremely courageous and brave, and particularly in a time of unimaginable tragedy and difficulty, it’s hard, for example, to do that and remain closeted." — actress Ellen Page on playing a real person in Freeheld (Source: ew.com)
     
  • "It was part of it. What blows my mind is how much my own personal journey paralleled the development of that movie. It felt wildly inappropriate to be playing this character as a closeted person. Coming out was a long process, though.” — actress Ellen Page on producing and working on Freeheld for six years being a catalyst in her decision to come out (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "The themes of Freeheld are universal. We all want to be treated with respect, we all want the right to love the person we choose to love and we all need our communities to acknowledge our work and our relationships. That’s really what Laurel and Stacie fought for with everything they had.” — screenwriter Ron Nyswaner on the movie (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "It’s a lovely, lovely story, and I really felt compelled to do it. Love is such a huge part of any human being’s life. It seems ridiculous to deny that right to anyone at any time." — actress Julianne Moore on the movie (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "I did a tremendous amount of research on Laurel. One of the things that really struck me about her was that she was someone who cared very much about getting justice in her work as a detective. But the irony is that after devoting her entire life to finding justice for other people, in her last year, she had to give everything she had to find it for the woman she loved." — actress Julianne Moore on her commitment and the intensive period of exploration and inquiry into Laurel Hester’s life and community (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Laurel had an extraordinary work ethic, but it was always behind the scenes. She didn’t take credit for a lot of things. She really just cared about the results." — actress Julianne Moore on Laurel Hester's humility (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Julianne is phenomenal in this role. She’s also the kindest and most generous person you can work with and a master at what she does." — actress Ellen Page on working with actress Julianne Moore (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "It’s always somewhat of a mystery what draws people together, and also what keeps them together. You always wonder ‘Why that person?’ ‘Why now?’ In the case of Laurel and Stacie, whatever the spark, the feeling was intense, dynamic and meaningful for both of them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual, meeting someone and truly falling in love like that are rare events and it’s something that we all value and cherish." — actress Julianne Moore on falling in love (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "We even went to the place where Laurel used to get coffee every morning. When you have that intimate human experience to draw on, you see more of a person and you’re able to get to more dimensions.” — actress Ellen Page on taking on the essence of Stacie Andree (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Both Julianne and Ellen would text me during production asking how I would have said something or how Laurel would have said something. I got very comfortable with them." — Stacie Andree on sharing her most treasured memories of Laurel Hester with both leading actresses (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "I relate to this film on a personal level because I’m gay, and when you see two human beings being treated as ‘less than’ because of that preference -- and being told your love is not valid -- it’s heartbreaking. But the chance to play a character falling in love and exploring the depth of love is also wonderful." — actress Ellen Page on bringing some of her own experiences to bear on her performance (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Ellen and Julie are each incredible in this, but they’re so beautiful together. They capture the tenderness of Laurel and Stacie, and the bravery they found to let people in and see what was going on." — actor Michael Shannon on the chemistry between the two leading actresses on the set (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "I was drawn to Laurel’s story because it’s about the idea that matter how scared you are, or what odds you face, it’s worth risking everything to not hide who you are." — actor Michael Shannon on joining the production after being deeply moved by the story (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Michael is wonderful as the disillusioned cop who’s become frustrated by a job he once loved. You see him wrestling with injustice." — director Peter Sollett on actor Michael Shannon (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "Goldstein is somebody who doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s a force of nature. His passion led him to speak out at every opportunity he found." — actor Steve Carell on playing civil rights activist Steven Goldstein (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)
     
  • "When Goldstein learned that Laurel was being denied justice because her partner was a woman, Steve decided that he was going to ruffle some feathers and make some people really uncomfortable -- and he did. His role in this fight is really significant. And Steve Carell is a piece of genius casting. He brings that willingness to be passionate and eccentric in his characters, and he is always very, very real." — writer Ron Nyswaner on actor Steve Carell being a surprisingly perfect match with Goldstein (Source: SFF Time for a movie Magazine February 2016 issue)

Release Dates:
 

Country

Date

Festival / Event / Location / Comment

Website

Canada

10th - 20th Sep 2015

Toronto International Film Festival / World premiere

tiff.net

USA

21st - 27th Sep 2015

Reeling Film Festival / Chicago

reelingfilmfestival.org

Spain

18th - 26th Sep 2015

San Sebastian Film Festival

sansebastianfestival.com

Canada

23rd Sep - 4th Oct 2015

Calgary International Film Festival

calgaryfilm.com

Switzerland

24th Sep - 4th Oct 2015

Zurich Film Festival

zff.com

Australia

22nd - 27th Sep 2015

Queer Screen Film Fest

tix.queerscreen.org.au

USA

28th Sep 2015

Arthouse Film Festival / New York City

arthousefilmfestival.com

USA

2nd Oct 2015

Limited release

 

USA

1st - 8th Oct 2015

Out on Film - LGBT Film Festival / Atlanta

outonfilm.org

South Korea

4th - 9th Oct 2015

Busan International Film Festival

biff.kr

Canada

6th Oct 2015

Edmonton International Film Festival

edmontonfilmfest.com

USA

8th - 18th Oct 2015

Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

threedollarbillcinema.org

Australia

15th - 25th Oct 2015

Adelaide Film Festival

adelaidefilmfestival.org

USA

16th Oct 2015

Nationwide release

 

Canada

16th Oct 2015

Limited release

 

Italy

16th - 24th Oct 2015

Rome Film Fest

romacinemafest.org

New Zealand

30th Oct 2015

Academy Cinemas

academycinemas.co.nz

Italy

5th Nov 2015

Theatrical release

 

Taiwan

26th Nov 2015

Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival

goldenhorse.org.tw

USA

8th - 10th Jan 2016

Evans Theatre, Brandon University, Brandon

evanstheatre.ca

USA

19th Jan 2016

Digital HD & Video On Demand release

 

Spain

29th Jan 2016

Theatrical release

 

USA

2nd Feb 2016

Blu-ray & DVD release

 

Portugal

4th Feb 2016

Theatrical release

 

France

10rd Feb 2016

Theatrical release

 

Taiwan

19th Feb 2016

Theatrical release

 

United Kingdom

19th Feb 2016

Theatrical release

 

Ireland

19th Feb 2016

Theatrical release

 

Germany

7th Apr 2016

Theatrical release

 

Chile

14th Apr 2016

Theatrical release

 

Russia

5th May 2016

Theatrical release

 

Germany

26th Aug 2016

Blu-ray & DVD release

 

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