In 2004, Garrard Conley was outed as gay to his parents at the age of 19. With a Southern Baptist preacher as his father, he was given no choice but to either attend conversion therapy or be disowned. Garrard, who seemingly had no other choice, enrolled in conversion therapy with Love In Action (LIA).
Years later, in 2016, Garrard Conley shared the story of his painful experience with the two-week program for conversion therapy through his novel, "Boy Erased: A Memoir."
Not too long after, actor and director Joel Egerton took notice of the novel, and after having read it he said, "I came out of it with something very hopeful.” Joel Egerton shared this at a Q&A event, for the film, at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles. From there he went on to write the script based on the memoir and featured it as his second directorial debut of film.
As for Garrard Conley's role in the making of the on-screen version of his story, Joel Egerton spoke on his thoughts of Garrard's involvement.
"It was imperative for me as I wrote the script, as I shot the film and as I cut the film, that he was a witness to all of that."
Garrard Conley played a great role in the adaptation of his story, which was reasoned by further words of Joel Egerton.
"It’s given him a voice beyond the book"
This voice that director Egerton refers to is the discussion conversion therapy. Singer and song writer Troye Sivan, who stars in the film, spoke alongside Joel Egerton at the Q&A event on the matter of conversion therapy as well.
"It’s not about just making a good movie, it’s about making a change. A lot of people would watch this movie and think it was set in the 90’s or something like that. No, it’s in 2004, and the really upsetting thing is I don’t think many people know that this is still happening in 2018."
The last remark made by Troye Sivan is held to be true as 36 states in the United States are legally able to still run conversion therapy programs similar to LIA. Troye Sivan went on further to speak on why he chose to be a part of the project since conversion therapy is still in action today.
"That just really motivated me beyond belief, to want to be a part of it in any way, shape or form. To try and start a conversation and actually make a tangible change in life."
Not only does the film tell a true remarkable life changing story, but it also features a strong cast between Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russel Crowe, and Joel Egerton. “Boy Erased” also features a new original song written and performed by Troye Sivan, titled "Revelation." The film has received praiseworthy reviews since its first showing, along with Oscar buzz as well.
“Boy Erased” is currently being shown in select local theaters. To learn more on the subject of conversion therapy visit Garrard's website, http://garrardconley.com/.