The Minds Behind “Boy Erased”: “We Had Our Arrow Aimed at Bigotry Itself”

Author Garrard Conley and director Joel Edgerton open up about their vision for the new film with conversion therapy survivor Chaim Levin.

Boy Erased, a new drama based off of conversion therapy survivor Garrard Conley’s harrowing memoir of the same name, hits theaters this Friday, November 2. The film itself is star-studded, with Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Troye Sivan all playing major roles, but the thought and care that went into crafting the screenplay is just as remarkable.

NewNowNext teamed up with writer, advocate, and conversion therapy survivor Chaim Levin to interview Conley and director Joel Edgerton, who adapted the book for the big screen. Years ago, Levin was a part of a successful lawsuit that helped shutter JONAH, a Jewish conversion therapy organization, on the basis of consumer fraud. Levin also met up with Conley and Edgerton in the very early stages of the film’s creation to provide insight into his journey toward healing and seeking justice.

“This movie and other stories and anything like that can sort of lift the rock up on these practices and [hold practitioners] accountable,” Edgerton told Levin. “Because it does feel to me like research was hard to come by.”

Conley agreed. “We want to make sure that conversion therapy becomes a conversation in the culture at large.”

Watch the full interview below.
 

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella