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The Reeler Blog

Ellen Page's Fame Game


By S.T. VanAirsdale

Budding indie sensation and Halifax, Nova Scotia, native Ellen Page logged a pair of successes at this year's festival; between her dual leads in Jason Reitman's teen pregnancy comedy Juno and Bruce McDonald's haunting split-screen drama The Tracey Fragments (not to mention her famous 2005 turn as the young, castrating avenger of Hard Candy), the 20-year-old actress has hooked audiences with her versatility and a deep sensitivity to youthful idealism gone awry. Page was also seen opposite Catherine Keener in this year's Sundance selection An American Crime and is slated to appear as twins opposite her Juno co-star Oliva Thirlby in Jack & Diane, Bradley Rust Gray's long-gestating follow-up to Salt.


Riding the wave: Ellen Page in The Tracey Fragments (Photo: TIFF)

The Reeler caught up with Page recently to discuss her rising star, working independently and why Toronto gets a bad rap.

THE REELER: It's one thing to be in this hugely anticipated festival film, but Juno came kind of out of nowhere to become a darling at Telluride and now here. What do you make of the phenomenon?

ELLEN PAGE: What can I say other than I'm glad people love it? It's one of the best scripts I've ever read; it's been in my life for a couple of years, and all I ever wanted to do was play Juno. Now that I'm sitting here, and people were laughing last night -- it's just surreal. I feel so lucky. I just hope people dig it.

R: You have The Tracey Fragments here as well -- a 100 percent Canadian production. You're from Nova Scotia; what's the level of pride for you to premiere these films in Toronto?

EP: It's genuinely fantastic. I've lived in Toronto, I've worked here, I've gone to school here. I absolutely love this city. It gets a lot of flak from the rest of Canada, but I really love this place.

R: Why does it get flak?

EP: I don't know. People kind of see it as concrete jungle, cranky people, trying to be like New York -- which I think is all silly. This area we're in right now is kind of corporate, but you go to other areas of Toronto and they're all kind of distinct. The architecture, the brick. But the festival is fantastic. When we were making this movie, we kept talking about how we hoped it would premiere at Toronto, but we weren't sure where Fox wanted to go and all that. But here we are.

R: You and your Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby have also been attached to Bradley Rust Gray's project Jack & Diane for a while. How did you become involved?

EP: A funny thing happened. I got sent the script and I was intrigued by what it's about. Unfortunately that story doesn't come up much -- two girls falling in love. Maybe Fucking Amal -- or Show Me Love, the Lukas Moodysson movie? Or My Summer of Love. But I was sent the script and I was sent Salt. I read the script and I wasn't totally sure at first, because when you read it, it's very delicate and not much happens in a "movie" sense. At first I wasn't sure what this guy was about who wanted to direct this movie. I was a little suspicious. Then I watched Salt, which is one of my favorite films. I think Brad is amazing and I think So (Yong Kim, Gray's wife and director of In Between Days) is amazing. They're like modern film warriors. Brad hadn't even seen anything I'd been in, but he saw my picture, and he talked to me on the phone, and he said, "I want you to be Diane." That was that.

R: Your profile is growing, not just in terms of the roles you're getting but potentially with regard to influence. At some point your name could probably help get a film like this made, couldn't it?

EP: I hope so. Mind you we're still having problems finding the money to shoot this film. We hoped we'd be shooting this fall, but we're not. So that's upsetting. And there are other things I'm attached to that are taking their time, so I don't think I'm anyone who's going to make anyone any money yet.

R: A lot of actresses will produce, though, for roles in films that wouldn't get made otherwise. You're pretty independent-minded; do you have any such ambitions?

EP: I don't want to be famous. I don't want to deal with what people who are famous have to deal with: The loss of privacy and just the amount of judgments and pressure that exists. But I also want to do what I love. I don't know if it'll happen, but if it doesn't there are lots of other things I'm interested in. I'd like to make my own films someday, so who knows. But the whole public eye in this industry scares me a little. Catherine Keener, whom I've had the pleasure of working with and who's one of my favorite actresses and one of the most incredible human beings I've ever met --- she has incredible balance. She's a two-time Academy Award nominee. But if she was attached to a film, would it make lots of money? Probably not.

R: The name raises eyebrows, of course. Do you think Juno could do that for you?

EP: That'd be great. It's nice to be in a movie I'm passionate about that it looks like people might see. A movie like Hard Candy, which I was proud of and many people saw. Which isn't the point, but I do want to work. The industry is fragile, but I do want to do what I love.

Posted at September 11, 2007 9:47 AM

Comments (2)

I just got around to seeing the film Hard Candy, and I loved it. Just form this one film I will now be sure to look out for the name Ellen Page when searching for interesting films to watch. Ellen page is a wonderful actress and I hope to see more of her!

I went and saw juno the other day and absolutely fell in love with ellen page. I actually went and rented x men 3, and was kinda bum med at how discrete her role was in it. So i went and rented hard candy. Love it! She is a very astonishing actress and i would love to meet her someday

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