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Ellen Page Talks Hard Candy and Playing Kitty Pryde in X3

By — April 20th, 2006

Ellen Page Interview

The young actress seeks out her sexual predator and gives up a little on her role in the new X-Men film

The world is full of sick and twisted sexual predators; and unfortunately, thanks to the internet, it's becoming increasingly easier for people like that to commit their crimes.

But the tables are starting to turn; the internet is helping police track down some of these awful people. However, what if you didn't want the police involved? What if you wanted to settle the situation and get your anger out without them knowing?

That's exactly what Ellen Page does in her latest film, Hard Candy; she plays Hayley Stark, a 14-year-old girl on a mission to find the person who molested her friend. Her victim is Patrick Wilson, and lets just say he gets the worse end of the deal.

We had a chance to sit down with Ellen to talk about this disturbing role, and about her upcoming part as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand. Here's what she had to say:

Can you talk about why this role appealed to you and how it might be different from other roles that you get offered?

Ellen Page: Yeah, I mean what appealed to me was that there was a character written for a teenage girl that was so passionate and intelligent. That's extremely refreshing because it's clearly not the image of what the media can have about teenage girls sometimes, and to receive a script that is just very original and pretty unbelievable, and then on top of that a character like this is just a once in a lifetime opportunity. So I'm pretty grateful for it.

Was there something in the script that really kind of got you or was it a full entire script that you had to read over and say, 'This is something that I want to do?'

Ellen Page: Well, I think that what I really love about the film is that you can't categorize it and I think that we're kind of obsessed about categorizing things, about pigeonholing life. I think that it makes us feel safe, but you can't do that with this film. Sympathies shift in this film and it's not black and white because life isn't like that and that was something that I really liked about it.

Do you think that's where some of the controversy might come from too - that your character isn't just a full on angel? There is some measure of moral ambiguity even if she is justified to some degree?

Ellen Page: Yeah, I think people feel really uncomfortable and it turns to anger sometime because they're not being spoon-fed answers and that happens a lot; here you have something that's really honest and showing these situations. It's dark and it doesn't leave you feeling safe.

We're you nervous at all or did you feel like you really had a handle on this going into it? Was it a kind of give and take?

Ellen Page: I was pretty pumped about it to be honest. I just wanted to dive right into it.

What did your parents or your family think about you accepting this part, and were there any restrictions or reluctance on their part?

Ellen Page: Sure, they were pretty supportive; my dad read the script and he was as amazed as I was. So it was about, 'Are you sure that you want to go into this person's head?' but other than that he was very supportive; they were awesome.

Did you put yourself at all in Hayley or did you separate yourself from the character completely?

Ellen Page: Well, I think that you put yourself in everything. I think that you have to be yourself. I know that this sounds so ridiculous, but yourself even more than someone else in the sense that you attach your heart to theirs and finding what it is about them that you can really emotionally connect to and then just following that and letting them come up. You find different parts of yourself in dark corners and just let it overtake you.

Why did you turn down the role in X-Men: The Last Stand initially?

Ellen Page: Turn it down? Oh, I didn't - I don't know; I had actually taken tons of time off after Hard Candy. I went to Halifax and graduated high school which was awesome and then was just kind of enjoying just being me in the world and having a great year. I was just getting my stuff together and I guess that I just didn't anticipate that to be something that was going to happen in my life. I didn't anticipate shooting such a large film on such a huge scale like that. So I was like, 'Wow. I just really don't think that I'm ready for it.' And then luckily Brett Ratner then called me directly and we had a conversation and he told me what the film was going to be about and how excited he was and then he got me really excited about it. Ultimately I'm very grateful for that. I'm glad that I did it.

On a film like this where there's not a lot of pre-production or rehearsal time, how did you and Patrick Wilson get together ahead of time to form that relationship?

Ellen Page: Well, we only had a few days of rehearsals and so we kind of just worked through the script and had an open and honest dialogue with David (Slade) and with Brian (Nelson) as well; we were just completely open with each other. Everyone was just passionate and everyone's heart was in the right place and we just went for it really.

Was there anything in particular that you guys talked about before you shot that you possibly wanted to change?

Ellen Page: Yeah, but really it was just kind of little things; I think that there was a point where Hayley was still being kind of funny on the roof at the end, and I was like, 'I think that the funny time is over by this point.' So it was just little things like that that didn't feel completely organic, but it was such a good script and Brian was so open to any thoughts.

How is Hayley compared to Kitty Pryde? Is there any similarity?

Ellen Page: Of course, they're both very intelligent, very brave, strong. Yeah, they're both cool; Kitty is a little more PG.

How was it jumping into an ensemble in X-Men where many of them have been together for so long now and had a working relationship? Was it an easy fit?

Ellen Page: You know what it was actually? I had this opportunity to work with stunning actors which was an honor, but at the same time it was like I went in there and they were just great people. I know that that sounds like such B.S., but really they were awesome, totally unassuming, totally open and kind, just all sweethearts.

Hard Candy is in select theaters now; it opens nationwide in the coming weeks; it's rated R. X-Men: The Last Stand hits theaters May 26th.

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