Freeheld has long been a passion project for Academy Award nominated actress Ellen Page. The film, based on the 2007 Oscar-winning documentary short of the same name, tells the true story of Laurel Hester, a New Jersey police detective, her domestic partner Stacie Andree, and their struggle and subsequent legal battles after Laurel becomes terminally ill and government officials refuse to provide Andree with Hester’s pension benefits. The original short film, directed by Cynthia Wade, not only won the Academy Award for documentary short subject but also a special jury prize when it premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Page has been attached to the narrative feature adaptation nearly ever since, trying to get the film made ever since the prodigious Canadian actress burst onto the Hollywood scene with her breakthrough performance in Juno. It appears that it may finally happen.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story today that four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore and The Hangover standout Zack Galifianakis are now attached to the project alongside Page. Moore would play Laurel, acting off the younger Page as Stacie, and Galifianakis will play activist Steven Goldstein. An additional role of Dane Wells, Laurel’s conservative police partner who was ultimately goes to bat for the couple, has yet to be cast, but given the pedigree of the ensemble already assembled don’t be surprised if a few top actors start lining up. Peter Sollett, who wrote and directed the 2003 critically lauded independent drama Raising Victor Vargas and directed the 2008 Michael Cera romantic comedy Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, will direct the film from a script by Ron Nyswaner, who has traveled similar territory two decades ago with his Oscar nominated script to the Tom Hanks AIDS drama Philadelphia. Wade will serve as one of the producers. The filmmakers are hoping to start shooting this summer. After a nearly seven year wait, hopefully the project can finally become a reality.
Page, who was last seen on screens in the little-seen indies The East and Touchy Feely, will appear next reprising her role as Kitty Pryde in Bryan Singer’s surely-to-be-widely seen X-Men: Days of Future Past. The quite busy Moore has the Liam Neeson action film Non-Stop due in theaters on February 28th as well as the David Cronenberg drama Maps to the Stars slated for a 2014 release, and is currently filming her part as Alma Coin in third (and fourth) installments of The Hunger Games. She also recently attached herself to Rebecca Miller’s New York-set dramedy Maggie’s Plan opposite Greta Gerwig. Galifianakis, done with The Hangover franchise, will next on screens in Muppets Most Wanted as well as in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s comedy Birdman.