Julianne Moore has said she was honoured to work with Ellen Page, who could be her “authentic self” in Freeheld.

The pair appear together in the film about a police officer with terminal cancer who wants to leave her pension benefits to her lesbian partner.

55-year-old Moore said she was pleased that Page, who came out as gay in 2014, could be her “authentic self in a part”

EllenPage Julianne Moore

Speaking on This Morning, Moore said: “This was the first time that Ellen’s played a gay character on screen and she was delighted. She felt that she was able to be her authentic self in a part.

“Even though the story is very sad, it was also joyful for her that she was able to participate in that way.”

Going on, Moore said she asked Page about her coming out, as research for the film.

She said: “Ellen would answer any question that I had about what was it like to be out? What is like to feel you can’t talk about your sexuality when you’re at work? What does it do to you emotionally? She was very anxious I think to share all that.”

Moore said she initially rejected the script, but her daughter convinced her to revisit it.

She continued: “It was deliberately misleading at the beginning so you thought you were going to be watching this story about a police officer but really it’s this tremendously beautiful very personal love story and that’s why I did it – I was so moved by it.

“I like a love story, just as everybody else does and I think we all build our lives around our relationships. So it was important for me as a human being and then yes the progress that we have made and continue to make in the world with gay rights.”

The Oscar-winning actress Moore earlier this week spoke out in support of the LGBT community in Italy, after being asked by a reporter whether it was right for same-sex couples to raise a child together.

“Having a family is a matter of human rights,” she said.

“Everyone should have the right to have a family. People taking care of each other, that’s what it means to be a family.”

The Italian Senate began debating a bill to legalise same-sex civil unions last month.