Steve Carell has been chosen to overtake the role of Steven Goldstein in the upcoming movie Freeheld based on the true story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree. Entertainment Weekly is reporting today that Steve Carell will replace actor and comedian Zach Galfiankis, who was originally set to take the role based on a true story. According to NJ.com, a conflict in schedule demanded that Zach Galfiankis back out.
Freeheld is based on the true story case involving Laurel Hester and her domestic partner, Stacie Andree. Lt. Laurel Hester's story made headlines in 2005 when she fought against the Ocean County Freeholders for death benefits for Stacie Andree. Hester, an investigator for Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, was dying of lung cancer and wanted to ensure that her domestic partner of five years would receive her pension benefits which would help Andree keep her life in tact. Specifically, Laurel wanted Stacie Andree to receive an annual income of about $13,000 and the ability to keep the lesbian couple's home in Point Pleasant, N.J.
Laurel Hester fought for amends to the 2004 Domestic Partnership Act which would give gay and lesbian employees the right to take care of their domestic partners after a death. Gay activist Laurel Hester's case received national attention, leading Hester to receive support from some of the most prominent gay and lesbian rights activists in America. Supporters came out in droves to help Laurel Hester fight against Ocean County's Freeholders.
Steven Goldstein, leader and founder of Garden State Equality, one of the largest gay and civil rights organizations, joined Laurel Hester in the cause. Laurel Hester died on February 18, 2006. The 2007 documentary Freeheld was based on her case. Freeheld, the movie, is directed by Peter Sollett and written by Ron Nyswaner. It will star Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. A release date for the film has not been indicated.
This true story is similar to another movie entitled What Makes A Family which was also based on a true story.