Ellen Page on Juno: The RT Interview
RT has an impromptu chat with the rising star.Juno has been in movies since the age of 10, has the face of a 14-year-old and the pop culture-savvy soul of a Gen-Xer. Although you might know her best as the mutant superhero Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand, or from her breakout role as a seemingly innocuous young girl in 2005's independent thriller Hard Candy, Page truly balances the mainstream and art house sets with her latest role in Juno.
Arguably this year's Little Miss Sunshine (albeit with a healthy injection of razor-sharp wit and references that fly faster and more furious than in an episode of Gilmore Girls), the Jason Reitman-directed flick, scripted by firebrand newbie scribe Diablo Cody, is a sweet 'n sassy film about teenage pregnancy that has earned overwhelming praise from critics since its debut at the Telluride Film Festival in September.
As the titular teen -- a Patti Smith-worshipping, lingo-slinging, socially-rebellious tomboy accidentally impregnated by her best friend -- Page is utterly believable as a 15-year-old old soul, not completely unlike how she seems in real life. RT slipped into a booth with her at Fox Searchlight's Toronto Film Festival bash for a great chat about movies, Canadian boys, and music that we both love.
So, critics love Juno (to the tune of a 92 percent Certified Fresh Tomatometer rating)! It's got quirky characters, but they're all grounded in reality and relatable.
Ellen Page: I think it's from a variety of things -- I think it's from an amazing script, and a wonderful director, Jason Reitman, who creates such a good tone. He doesn't want it to be contrived and over-the-top. When you have such a good script, you don't want to force it. You just want to sit with it, and figure out where the hearts of the characters are and just dive into that, you know? Just be easy with it.
Did you know immediately when you read the script that you wanted to play
EP: I read the script a couple years ago -- it was one of those things that takes time [to get off the ground] -- and I fell in love then, but it kind of just dwindled away, didn't have money, so on and so forth. And then it came back around again, and I got excited all over again, and the next thing I knew -- here I am! It's insane!
Juno herself is a bit of a pop culture junkie. What kinds of movies do you like?
EP: All kinds...I love everything. The 400 Blows is one of my favorite movies, and when I think of new cinema I love Lynne Ramsay -- I love Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar. I love all kinds of movies though. What did I see the other day that was awesome? My Summer of Love.
Do you tend to see movies that are more in line with the kind of movie you'd like to make?
EP: It's funny, sometimes I see movies and I get almost angry -- because I'm like, I can never make that movie. It stems from a jealousy, but from a good kind of jealousy. Do you know what I mean? It's inspirational.
But no, I love all kinds of movies! I love horror, to a certain extent. And comedy -- I saw Superbad the other day! I thought it was awesome.
Michael Cera is awesome in that! And I love Jonah Hill...
EP: Yeah, he's great too. He came up and visited Michael when we were in Vancouver. They are just so funny together. But I love Michael. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about the guy. He's super sweet. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met. And he's a teenage boy!
Is he nice because he's Canadian?
EP: [Smiling] I've met some mean teenage boys that were from Canada.
You had more than one movie at Toronto.
EP: Well, there's this, and there's [The Tracey Fragments] that I shot before Juno, which is, like, a small, crazy Canadian movie directed by Bruce McDonald, who is an awesome Canadian director. It's much more dark and edgy, and heart-wrenching than Juno. And then the other film is Stone Angel, that Ellen Burstyn stars in; I'm really not in that film much, it was just an honor to be a part of -- it's a novel that's been a Canadian legacy. And Kevin Zegers from Transamerica and I kind of did a cameo thing.
Considering the independent films and dramatic roles you've chosen, was
X-Men a completely different experience?
EP: It is totally different, but it's just a different kind of movie. You can't really compare it to this kind of filmmaking. It's a lot of... you know, and then you're wearing leather suits and running through fire, which is super cool, but there's a lot of waiting around and it's not really about the same things. It's about other things. It's as simple as that.
Juno has a great soundtrack -- Belle and Sebastian, Sonic Youth, The Moldy Peaches, etc. Do you share Juno's taste in music?
EP: I know this is going to sound annoying, but I love all kinds. Lately I've been listening to CocoRosie's new album. I just saw them live in Vienna, which was amazing. New Young Pony Club, their new album...I don't know what it is about them, but it almost give me a sugar rush and I get really turned on, to be honest.
And I'm a huge Moldy Peaches fan; the second time Jason and I met, I was in his office and he said, "What do you think Juno would listen to?" And I said, "Oh, the Moldy Peaches!" I went on his computer, played him the Moldy Peaches, and next thing you know -- it's in the film. Who should have a soundtrack credit? Me.
I'm a Cat Power fan--
That Cat Power song in Juno, "Sea of Love," makes me cry!
EP: Have you heard her cover album? Oh my God. That is always in high rotation! Oh, and I'm a massive Patti Smith fan.
So is Juno! Did that translate to her character from you?
I love Juno's taste in music, and how it informs the dynamic between Jason Bateman's character and her in terms of the kind of music they like. It rings so true.
EP: Well, I'm really passionate about music -- I get really emotionally connected, probably in a weird way. But I'll play characters and I'll create a playlist and now, certain songs are hard for me to listen to. Yeah, I think I get way too emotionally connected to music...
Juno's traveled around the festival circuit all year building this great buzz. What's your normal life like, compared to this?
EP: Completely different! I go, like, camping every weekend.
Juno is now in limited release and will be expanding December 14.