Focus Features has announced the acquisition of writer-director-actor Joel Edgerton‘s upcoming gay conversion and coming-out drama Boy Erased. The film is based on the novel Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Gerrard Conley and has been adapted for the screen by Edgerton, who is also directing. Oscar nominated rising actor Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) will star in the film along with Edgerton and Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe.
Boy Erased will tell the story of Jared (Hedges), the son of a small-town Baptist pastor, who is outed as being gay to his parents (Kidman, Crowe) and subsequently made to participate in their church’s gay conversion therapy program at the threat of being shunned by his family, friends, and community. At the program, Jared comes into conflict with the head therapist (Edgerton).
The film is being produced by Edgerton and Anonymous Content and is looking to begin shooting this fall to secure a 2018 release date. In a statement released by Edgerton, the filmmaker revealed, “I’m excited to work with an ensemble of actors, seasoned and new, to bring Garrard’s story to the screen. I think Focus is the perfect partner on this, and I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story. I can’t think of a better reason to get behind the camera again.”
This film will be Edgerton’s second feature as a director, the first being 2015’s The Gift. Edgerton has served as screenwriter, though, on several other projects including 2015’s Jane Got a Gun, 2014’s The Rover, and 2013’s Felony. In front of the camera, Edgerton has already had a prolific acting career, earning a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in last year’s Loving, and turning out several notable and standout roles in Midnight Special, Black Mass, The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty, and Warrior, as well as the recently released indie horror It Comes at Night.
Focus Features is a distributor dedicated to the vast world of talent and stories within the LGBTQ community, releasing such projects in the past as Beginners, Brokeback Mountain, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl, and Milk. According to Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski, “Garrard’s story is both timely and timeless, both personal and universal. It is a story which will not only deeply move people, but one that we hope will change outlooks. We are thrilled to work once again with Joel, and with the Anonymous Content team. These filmmakers’ passion for this heart-rending project speaks to all of us at Focus, and to why we make the movies we do.”