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Elliot Page to produce virtual reality series about Brooklyn's queer history

The series is inspired by historian Hugh Ryan's critically acclaimed 2019 book, "When Brooklyn Was Queer."
A black and white portrait of Elliot Page.
Elliot Page will serve as an executive producer on a series inspired by Hugh Ryan's "When Brooklyn Was Queer."Joe Maher / Getty Images
/ Source: Variety

Elliot Page has boarded XR entertainment studio New Canvas’ virtual reality-based series inspired by Hugh Ryan’s acclaimed book, “When Brooklyn Was Queer,” as an executive producer.

The series dives into LGBTQ history from the mid-1850s to the present day, celebrating identity, resilience and achievements against adversity. It will be directed by Emmy winner Yasmin Elayat (“Zero Days VR”) and written by Agnes Borinsky (trans coming-of-age novel “Sasha Masha”).

Book cover
"When Brooklyn Was Queer," by Hugh Ryan.Macmillan Publishers

Joining Page as executive producers are author Ryan, Matt Jordan Smith and Tuck Dowrey of Pageboy Productions as well as Maor Azran and Dan Adler of MA Productions.

Ryan’s book sheds light on Brooklyn’s queer legacy, while highlighting stories of identity and victory. New Canvas, using state-of-the-art XR technology, aims to bring these untold stories to life, providing a vivid journey into the untold events of Brooklyn’s LGBTQ past.

“Our company’s mission is to tell elevated, entertaining, original intersectional and socially responsible stories that explore themes like generational queerness. As a creative company that pushes boundaries, it is exciting for us to work with New Canvas to bring queer stories into the world of XR for the first time,” said Page and Jordan Smith, head of development for Pageboy Productions. “We believe making quality art that portrays varied, authentic experiences elicits empathy, understanding and ultimately has the power to change hearts and minds.”

Wadooah Wali, chief strategy officer and executive producer at New Canvas, added: “‘When Brooklyn Was Queer’ isn’t just a book; it’s a beacon for an extraordinary VR adaptation that enables us to connect the past with the present. We are thrilled to have the incredible talent and passion that both Yasmin and Agnes bring to the project. This team is uniquely positioned to transform these profound stories inspired by real people and events that will immerse audiences in bold new ways for the very first time. It’s both our joy and obligation to honor these historical truths, presenting them in a dynamic new medium that goes well beyond what can be achieved with traditional, flatscreen entertainment.”

Elayat said: “As someone who lives and works in Brooklyn, I was profoundly moved by Hugh’s book, which masterfully uncovers the vibrant and layered, queer history integral to the fabric of this city and American culture itself. As someone who’s dedicated to the restoration and celebration of these hidden narratives by using cutting-edge technologies in dynamic ways, I’m thrilled to join this talented team.”

Borinsky added, “Hugh’s book upended my assumptions about the many forms of queerness that have long pulsed through our history. With this amazing team, we get to overturn conventions about how stories get told and how we position ourselves relative to the past.”

Production commences later this year.