Elliot Page says he got shingles after being surrounded by ‘a cast full of cis men’ on Inception

Elliot Page has revealed that he got shingles while filming Inception due to the stress he was feeling at the time about his gender identity and sexuality.

The 36-year-old Umbrella Academy star – who came out as transgender in December 2020 – isn’t holding back with his new memoir Pageboy, sharing in great detail his experience as a famous trans person in life, and Hollywood in general.

That includes his role as Ariadne in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 hit movie which also starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Cillian Murphy.

According to Insider, Page penned that he came down with a case of shingles – which is a viral infection that causes a painful rash – during the film’s shoot, and contended that it was caused due to pressure of being part of “a cast full of cis men”.

“Shingles popped out of my spine while filming Inception when I was twenty-two,” he wrote, per the publication. “Despite everyone being delightful to work with, I felt out of place.”

The Canadian star continued: “In a cast full of cis men, I did not understand the role I found myself in,” adding, “For the first two weeks of the film I joked I would be recast with Keira Knightley, and rightfully so.”

Page’s character in the blockbuster was an architecture student whose job is to construct the dreamscapes. They were recruited by Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) and Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) to be part of their team, along with Eames (Hardy) and Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

He filmed the movie more than a decade before he underwent his gender transition. It was also before he had come out publicly that he (while still presenting as female) was a lesbian.

The Whip It actor went on to discuss how he felt trying to explore relationships with other women, revealing that at the time of the film release, he was in a secret romance with a woman who was “out, and surrounded by a community of queer women”.

“I was not settled, I still felt out of place, stirring up the dust. A pinball of projection, I internalized the chaos. It left me feeling bereft of hope,” Page recalled. “My body hoarded the unexamined emotions, sensations, wants, and needs.

“Easy sentences prepared in my brain, stuck. They were visible to me, written out, I heard the voice but my mouth refused to cooperate. Just the tick tick tick of the windup toy, or nothing at all,” he added.

Page made several other revelations in the book – which was released this week on June 6 – including that he had an affair with actress Kate Mara, who was dating The Handmaid’s Tale actor Max Minghella at the time.

“[The relationship] was right after I’d come out as gay and it was a time of exploration and also heartbreak,” he said. “I think my relationship, or whatever you want to call it with Kate, very much encapsulates a certain dynamic that I consistently found myself in, which was falling for people that – I think a lot of us do this – who aren’t fully available.”

In addition to this, the Hard Candy star claimed that while filming Juno, he would have sex “all the time” with his co-star Olivia Thirlby, saying that they hooked up in a “hotel room, in our trailers at work, once in a tiny, private room in a restaurant,” per Daily Beast.

He added: “Ironically, playing a pregnant teenager was one of the first times I felt a modicum of autonomy on set. I was wearing a fake belly but not being hyperfeminized. For me, Juno was emblematic of what could be possible, a space beyond the binary.”

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