Elliot Page Got Shingles While Shooting “Inception” Because He Felt So “Out Of Place” Around Leonardo DiCaprio And Tom Hardy

“In a cast full of cis men, I did not understand the role I found myself in.”

In his new memoir, Pageboy: A Memoir, Elliot Page reflects on the highs and lows of his career in Hollywood, shedding new light on some of his most memorable acting performances.

Close-up of Elliot smiling and wearing a bow tie

As I’m sure you know, Elliot — who came out as transgender in December 2020 — started out in the movie business as a teenager but shot to fame in 2007 after starring in Juno.

The film earned Elliot an Oscar nomination in 2008, and by the following year, he’d already started filming for Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Close-up of Leo DiCaprio and Christopher in suits and ties

Elliot starred in the thriller alongside a pretty phenomenal cast, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Caine.

The cast standing together

However, despite Inception’s immense success, Elliot reveals in his new memoir that he doesn’t look back fondly on his time making the hit movie.

Close-up of Elliot in a suit jacket and shirt and wearing a corsage

“Shingles popped out of my spine while filming Inception when I was 22,” he writes, according to Insider. For context, shingles is an infection of nerve tissue and the skin around it, which causes a painful rash.

Elliot explains in the book that although the star-studded cast was “delightful to work with,” he felt deeply “out of place,” writing, “In a cast full of cis men, I did not understand the role I found myself in.”

Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy standing together in suits and ties

Looking back on the first two weeks of shooting over the summer of 2009, Elliot recalled struggling so much that he feared he would “rightfully” be "recast with Keira Knightley."

Close-up of Keira

Obviously, this did not happen, and Elliot was able to give a brilliant performance in the movie. However, this isn’t the first time he’s opened up about the difficulties that came with the major role.

Elliot on the set of The View

In his first sit-down television interview since coming out as transgender, Elliot told Oprah that he suffered an anxiety attack after the Paris premiere of Inception due to the intensity of his gender dysphoria.

Close-up of Elliot

“There was so much press and so many premieres all around the world, and I was wearing dresses and heels to pretty much every single event,” he said in April 2021. “I lost it; it was like a cinematic moment. That night, after the premiere at the afterparty, I collapsed.”

Close-up of Elliot smiling in a bow tie

Elliot continued: “Ultimately, of course, it’s every experience you’ve had since you were a toddler, people saying, ‘The way you’re sitting is not ladylike, you’re walking like a boy.’ The music you’re listening to as a teenager, obviously, the way you dress.”

He said, “Every single aspect of who you are constantly being looked at and put in a box in a very binary system. That’s what it leads to.”

Close-up of Elliot in a suit jacket and shirt against a plain red background

Pageboy: A Memoir is now available for purchase.

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