Joel Edgerton (‘Boy Erased’) declares this new film is ‘scarier’ than some horror films [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Joel Edgerton definitely knows a thing or two about horror movies, especially since his debut film, “The Gift,” was one. With his new film, “Boy Erased,” Edgerton used several horror elements to tell this story. “Being such a fan of suspense and horror movies, I felt like in many ways, even though it wouldn’t have jump scares, that ‘Boy Erased’ was going to be a scarier movie than ‘The Gift,'” he declares to us during a recent chat at the Middleburg Film Festival. Watch our exclusive video interview with Edgerton above.

“Boy Erased,” which Edgerton also co-wrote and stars in, is based on Garrard Conley’s memoir about his time spent in a faith-based program designed to change his sexual orientation, also known as reparative or conversion therapy. When he first enters the program, he wants to change but soon encounters the physical and psychological horrors that the practice entails. Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges portrays Conley and his parents are played by a pair of Oscar winners: Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe.

Edgerton first became familiar with the story when the book was given to him by his agent. He ended up really being taken with it because, he says, “I grew up with a deep fear of institutions and I had heard a little bit about gay conversion therapy, so my morbid curiosity lead me to read it.” After reading it Edgerton became obsessed with getting the book made into a movie. He maintains, “I’ve never had a project pick me like this one picked me. I’ve tried to get into other people’s projects or pick projects, but this thing picked me up and dragged me along.”

Edgerton also talks about some of the specific practices that he found appalling that were practiced. He takes particular issue with how the program will create the idea of a safe space and then use what’s said in that space against people. One that didn’t make it into the movie, because Conley didn’t experience it himself, was incredibly disturbing to him. “The moral inventory of having to get up and talk out loud about indiscretions or actions like it’s Alcoholics Anonymous and doing it as a public forum with their parents in the room and encouraging the parents to shame their children. I think it’s abhorrent.”

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