EXCLUSIVE: Multiple distributors are bidding for Boy Erased, a provocative drama Joel Edgerton has scripted and will direct based on the memoir by Garrard Conley. Edgerton will star with Manchester By The Sea‘s Lucas Hedges, and Edgerton is courting Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman for supporting roles, I’m told. Edgerton is producing with Anonymous Content’s Kerry Roberts and Steve Golin. Tony Lipp, Kim Hodgert Rebecca Yeldham and Ann Ruark are the exec producers. Annapurna, Netflix, Amazon, Focus are the names I’m hearing for potential landing places. The film will start production in the fall.
Edgerton, who wrote and produced the 2015 sleeper hit The Gift, has adapted the 2016 Garrard memoir of his harrowing time attending Love in Action, an entity that attempts to deprogram LGBT people. The son of a Baptist pastor in a conservative small Arkansas town, Conley was outed to his parents at age 19. Conley was faced with attending a church-supported conversion therapy program that purports to “cure” homosexuality. The alternative was to risk losing his family, friends and his religion.
He entered the program, but instead of emerging from the brutal Twelve-Step Program as heterosexual, he left with the strength to embrace his true identity. The drama covers the difficulty of coming of age as a gay person in a conservative community, and the struggles that can occur when one tries to suppress that sexual identity.
Hedges, who broke out in the Oscar-nominated Manchester By The Sea, will play the protagonist, and Edgerton will play the man who runs the therapy program. Edgerton, Crowe and Kidman have long talked about doing a film together, and he wants them to play Conley’s parents. Stay tuned.
Edgerton is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content and Hedges by Paradigm and Anonymous Content.