Entertainment Movies Elliot Page Recalls Being 'Closeted' While Promoting 'Juno' During Awards Season: 'I Wasn't Okay' Elliot Page tells Esquire he "didn't know how to talk about" being "closeted" with anyone while promoting 2007's Juno during that year's awards season By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 1, 2022 01:13 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Elliot Page. Photo: Wynne Neilly Elliot Page says he was not "okay" during the time his hit film Juno "was at the height of its popularity." In a new cover interview for Esquire's Summer 2022 issue, the 35-year-old Academy Award nominee, who is transgender, recalled the feeling of being "closeted" during awards season for the Diablo Cody-written dramedy. "I was closeted, dressed in heels and the whole look — I wasn't okay, and I didn't know how to talk about that with anyone," Page said. While he "can't pinpoint a 'worst' day," Page said, "When Juno was blowing up — this sounds strange to people, and I get that people don't understand. Oh, f--- you, you're famous, and you have money, and you had to wear a dress, boo-hoo. I don't not understand that reaction." "But that's mixed with: I wish people would understand that that s--- literally did almost kill me," added Page, who is set to release a memoir, Pageboy, next year. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. Elliot Page Challenges the Idea That Playing Cisgender Roles Is an "Accomplishment" for Trans Actors The actor went on to say he could talk to Catherine Keener, his "oldest friend in L. A." whom he starred with in An American Crime that same year. "I was living in a hotel by myself, and she came and got me. I lived with her," Page said. "For my 21st birthday, she had a surprise party for me. I didn't really know anybody, so everyone wore name tags. I wore one, too. Nobody knew me, and they brought these funny little gifts. It was really sweet." The Umbrella Academy star told Esquire he even has a tattoo dedicated to Keener, 63, whom he has known since he was 19 — and that it's the "first tattoo [he] ever got." "It's my nickname for her, which is c keens. That's just under my top right shoulder," Page said. "Keener taught me not to take bulls---, to keep my feet on the ground, to live my truth and to take care of my heart." The Canadian actor said he was expected to wear a dress during press events for Juno and recalled to Esquire, "All the photo shoots — Michael Cera was in slacks and sneakers. I look back at the photos, and I'm like ... ?" RELATED VIDEO: Juno Oscar Nominee Elliot Page Comes Out as Transgender: "My Joy Is Real, but It Is Also Fragile" "And it's easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? No. That was really extremely, extremely f---ed up. I shouldn't have to treat it like just this thing that happened — this somewhat normal thing. It's like: No. Regardless of me being trans!" Page said. "I've had people who've apologized about things: 'Sorry, I didn't know, I didn't know at the time.' It doesn't matter! It doesn't matter if I'm trans or cis. Lots of cis women dress how I dress. That has nothing to f---ing do with it." Page recalled "people, especially teenage girls, really respond[ing] to that character, Juno," after the movie premiered in December 2007. "The vibe — something that was, if not nonexistent ... it was new for a film that reached the audience it reached, and with her as the title character," he continued of the movie, which went on to win Best Original Screenplay for Cody, 43, at the Oscars. "It related to my queerness and my transness." For Page, the juxtaposition between the film's "success" and "major profit" (both for the film itself and the buzzed-about soundtrack) compared to some of the behind-the-scenes aspects felt "gross." "So you're benefiting greatly from this character that connected with people, and then you do that. It's gross," he said. "I wish I could go back and experience it now. As me."