EXCLUSIVE: His reps declined to comment, but word in publishing circles is that Elliot Page’s memoir Pageboy sold to Flatiron Books for north of $3 million. The deal was made based on a 49-page proposal shopped by UTA. Deadline read the document, and it sounds like Page has a truly compelling story to tell about a long struggle to find himself amidst a torrent of homophobic hatred, not only in his hometown of Halifax, Novia Scotia but also in Hollywood where Page first came to fame as an Oscar nominee for Juno. Before he transitioned, Page describes numerous occasions where he was set upon by homophobic bullies, with few willing to help. A beer thrown at Page in Toronto, a menacing loudmouth chasing Page into a restaurant in Hollywood, this was something that happened often to the diminutive Page. The loathsome industry people in Hollywood weren’t named, but there was the male film director who tried to seduce Page at age 16; and the time that a big movie star — who would later say he was ossified and blacked out in a clumsy apology — berated Page at a party in an outrageous homophobic rant. This was just after Page — then known as Ellen — had come out as queer. The actor accused Page’s bold announcement of being false. “You aren’t gay. You are just afraid of men…I’m going to fu*k you to make you realize you aren’t gay.” As the torrent grew louder and more graphic, nobody in the room, even Page’s closest friends, stood up for their friend. It was unclear if they were shocked, or afraid to say anything because the actor was one of the biggest stars in town.
Page’s willingness to be honest about the conflicting emotions, starting with shame, that kept him from realizing who he really was, has the makings of an important book for others who face the same abuse and difficult life decisions. Some in publishing circles were surprised by how much Flatiron paid, but that will incentivize the publisher to making sure the book gets proper promotion to get the Umbrella Academy star’s story to the widest audience possible. Pageboy will be published in 2023, and could be something groundbreaking not only about transgender identity, but about courage in the face of adversity.
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