In person, Ellen Page gives off a cool, almost Arthur Fonzarelli vibe. The way that she will refer to you as "dude" has a little bit to do with this. Which brings with it a slight air of unexpected intimidation -- unexpected in the sense that not many human beings who share the "Juno" star's diminutive stature often get described as "intimidating," but there it is.
Page's new movie is Zal Batmanglij's "The East," a thriller about the exploits of a group of eco-terrorists doling out punishment to corporate leaders for crimes against the environment. Page plays Izzy, a member of The East whose family becomes a target of the group.
Page doesn't hold back when it comes to her opinion on the environment; but for as boisterous as she can be about her political opinions, we don't know a lot about her private life -- a situation, as she says here, that she works hard to maintain -- other than to reveal that her favorite movie growing up was the Drew Barrymore fantasy film "Ever After," which has inspired Page's career more than you would think. And Page gives us an update on the ever-more star-studded "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
When I watch movies about the environment, I tend to get depressed.
I think a lot of people do. I think a lot of people feel defeated, which leads to frustration, which leads to anger -- and I know I feel that. I feel that toward myself, you know, because I live in society and I drive a car and I'm on planes all of the time. But, of course, these are things that I spend a lot of time thinking about. And it is hard. It's hard because I think there are actually a lot of answers. Everyone talks about these issues being so complicated -- of course they are. Sometimes it's like, well, why don't we get big money out of politics, stop subsidizing oil, stop subsidizing a food system that's an unsustainable mess?
But that stuff is not going to happen.
Yeah. And guess what? It might mean that a lot of humanity is going to be wiped out.
Well, that is what's going to happen.
That's why a movie like this is depressing.
The only reason that it makes me really sad is really, honestly, the people that have nothing to do with creating the problem -- and those are the poorest and most exploited in the world -- they're the ones that are going to have to deal with the brunt of the shit the most.
Like toxic cities in China.
Or how much food costs are going to go up because of the way our food system works. Or extreme weather around the world, you know, or cultures disappearing.
I'm starting to think there's no reason for hope. I know that sounds defeatist.
Maybe the hope is actually in accepting the hopelessness. Human beings came in and the reason we've caused so much destruction is because we're so obsessed with out impermanence that we came in and created all of these linear systems that don't reflect nature whatsoever. And that's not to say everyone -- a lot of people still live that way, in a cyclical nature. But we came in and we believe in an economy that's based on exponential growth, which makes zero sense and just leads to destruction. So, yes, what might happen is the Earth is just going to do a bunch of stuff and reset itself and life is going to keep going. And that just happens to be what we're alive for. I think it's better to be obviously positive and do what one can, because I'm sure a lot of groups of people that were profoundly oppressed had moments of absolute hopelessness and thought things wouldn't change -- and then things did change.
Are these opinions why you liked this movie? How do you choose your roles when scripts show up?
Well, I mean, it always usually comes down to the script or the people or something I'm interested in exploring, or a different kind of filmmaking. This specifically, I was a fan of "Sound of My Voice" and what Zal did with that. Brit Marling's performance in that, as well as "Another Earth," I just loved. I was just like, "Who the hell is this person?"
"Another Earth" is such an interesting premise.
It's a beautiful film. I love that movie and her performance in it, I think, is just astounding, truly astounding ... and to be honest, when you meet them and experience their energy and their passion, it's very infectious. And I was trying to play it cool at the meeting.
How does Ellen Page play it cool? You seem like a relaxed-enough person in general.
Well, no, what I'm trying to say is that I really, really wanted them to want me to be involved. They could have easily wanted someone else.
Do you get offered a lot? I'm under the impression that people want you in their movies.
No, no, I don't think so. You know, especially because careers go in ebbs and flows, absolutely.
Do you feel that's happened to you?
I don't know. I mean, I feel super fortunate. I feel like every project I've gotten to do, I've been passionate about and I'm interested in. And to be an actor, to work, firstly, is a gift -- let alone to be able to choose what you want to do. I feel very happy with the choices that are in front of me and the choices that I get to make.
After "Juno," did you get a lot of Juno-type role offers?
Yeah, and I mean, you have people who get scripts and read them.
So they may not ever get to you.
No, and people know what I'm interested in and what I'm not interested in. I don't really want to play "the girlfriend," you know? Unless the girlfriend is interesting, you know what I'm saying? I'm also very specific about the young women that I want to portray, so that is important to me.
Because when I was a kid, I always was super excited to see a female role that was ...
What's an example?
Oh my God, I loved "Ever After" with Drew Barrymore. I loved that. Just movies that offered a different perspective of what a woman could be.
Is your love of "Ever After" why you wanted to be in "Whip It!"?
[Laughs] No, but I did love "Ever After." I mean, I wanted to be in "Whip It!" because I love that script and I wanted to learn how to roller derby -- and of course I wanted to be a part of Drew's directoral debut and have a blast making that movie.
It did look fun.
I'm proud of that movie.
I'm surprised it didn't do better.
It's always nice when things do, but I think things come out and they manage to find their audience. And I had a blast making it, that's all I really care about.
The most surprising role that I've seen you in -- and there are obvious picks like "Hard Candy" -- but Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love," I would never expect that role to go to you.
No, me either.
Your name and "starlet" don't really go together.
When it first came up, you don't know about the project. I came and I met Woody for like five or seven minutes or however long, then you leave.
Is it really that quick?
It's that quick. I was on my way to the airport and they're like, "Can you come back and read this in the office?" And I was like, "Of course." And I went back and I read it and I was terrified.
I have heard that he's hard to read.
No, he's sweet.
But that you don't know what he's thinking.
Oh, sure. You never know what he's thinking. To be honest, it was so terrifying and such a challenge.
When I got the gist of who you were playing, I thought that was really interesting.
Well, I was just finding all of my seeds of narcissism. No, but it was hard. It's funny because the role is like, you go to Rome and shoot two weeks, then you leave. But I was like shitting my pants. Obviously it's a lot of monologues.
I mean this in a good way, but I don't know much about you. How private are you?
I mean, I'm very private. But I also don't do that much, you know? I don't go out a lot. I'm not a partier. I'm not a big drinker. You know, it's just not my scene. So I don't think I'm very interesting or have anything in that realm that people want to talk about. And, yeah, of course I'm private. I mean, why wouldn't anyone want to be?
Some people don't.
Well, I want to be very private. Also because it's for the work. I mean, your job is to create an illusion, you know?
You have "X-Men: Days of Future Past" coming up. Did Bryan Singer have to talk you into returning? I'm under the impression that Brett Ratner had to talk you into doing "The Last Stand."
Well, you know, it came about and I was surprised. I didn't expect to be playing Kitty Pryde again. When you make the first one, you think, "Oh, maybe." But then that much time going by, the last thing that you expect -- how old was I? Eighteen? I'm 26 now, that was a long time ago. Yeah, I was 18. And with Bryan, to be honest, I heard about it and then I went and met with him in L.A. and he told me about it and told me what was going on with Kitty -- and [I] was totally excited to go back. Especially with this new, insane cast. I mean, it's psychotic. Jennifer Lawrence is fucking incredible. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and everyone, I mean -- awesome. It's going to be cool. I've been in Montreal shooting it and it's going to be cool.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.