Ellen Page on Juno: The RT Interview

RT has an impromptu chat with the rising star.

by | December 6, 2007 | Comments

Canadian actress Ellen Page is an anomaly in Hollywood. The 20-year-old star
of this week’s 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
(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
, 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

EP: All kinds…I love everything.
The 400 Blows
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
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?

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?

EP: Yes!

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

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.