Lucas Hedges is one of the busiest young actors of his generation following his Oscar nominated turn in 2016’s Manchester by the Sea, standout performances in high-profile films Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and now his first lead role in Joel Edgerton’s highly anticipated Boy Erased.
Boy Erased chronicles the real life story of Gerrard Conley, whose parents (played in the film by Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) sent him to ‘conversion therapy’ upon discovering their teen child was gay.
In a new interview with Vulture, Hedges (currently in rehearsals for the Broadway revival of The Waverly Gallery) opens up about his own perceived sense of sexuality. And, like many, he finds himself somewhere on a ‘spectrum’ rather than a specific label.
In approaching the story of Gerrard Conley, Hedges says he saw the film as “a story about shame.”
“I recognized that sense of anticipating and waiting for anyone and everyone to be like, ‘There’s something wrong with you,’ ” he says. “It’s a story about shame, which felt to me like the governing factor of my life and my childhood.”
The 21-year-old goes on to share with Vulture an episode from third grade when he told his mother he had a crush on a boy at day camp.
“I felt terrible about it,” Hedges shares. “I remember her being very comforting, and she understood that something was distressing me, and she said, ‘You don’t have to go back to camp today.’ ”
With the release of Boy Erased on the horizon (set for November 2 release), Hedges is plainly aware that his own sexuality will be a topic in interviews.
“I owe it to this part to speak as honestly as possible,” Hedges says. “In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends. That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware that while for the most part I was attracted to women, I existed on a spectrum.”
While third graders may not distill the concept of sexual attraction, Hedges does recall a teacher during sixth grade speaking to sexuality as something that may exist across a broad range instead of a 100% label of straight or gay.
“I felt ashamed that I wasn’t 100 percent, because it was clear that one side of sexuality presents issues, and the other doesn’t as much,” he says. “I recognize myself as existing on that spectrum: Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.”
Sounds like a lot of folks, doesn't it?
Boy Erased isn't Hedges' first role that questions sexuality. In Lady Bird, his character was confronted by a girlfriend who catches him kissing another boy.
Boy Erased hits theaters November 2.