Canadian actor Ellen Page started out her acting career as a child actor, her first major role being Magie MacLean in a TV series called Pit Pony (1999-2000). And unlike many child actors who disappear after their short-lived fame, she continued to perform and had built an interesting body of work on both independent and commercial side of the film industry. Recently she also expanded her role behind the camera as a producer, creating works that align closely with her interests.
Her most recently released work is Tallulah, which premiered at Sundance. (It was bought by Netflix.) The film, directed by Sian Heder, writer of the acclaimed TV series Orange is the New Black explores the nature of maternal love through a story of a discontented young woman who steals a baby. Then in 2015, there was Freeheld, which details the real-life story of Detective Laurel Hester (played by Julianne Moore) and her partner Stacie Andree (played by Ellen Page). Freeheld reflects an important moment in the equality movement. And even though the press review for the movie was mixed, it signals a new direction for Ellen page as an actor for reasons more personal to her.
But of course, we have to mention few of Page’s performances before continuing to discuss a further trajectory of her career. There was Page’s breakout role of Juno MacGuff in 2007’s Juno, a tale of unexpected teenage pregnancy. After 2007, she started to participate in bigger tentpole films such as Inception (2010). There is also her X-men gig as Kitty Pryde, which she took up again in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. But her most memorable roles so far had been in independent films. Noticeable performances include 2005’s thriller Hard Candy (director David Slade’s first feature film), a story between a 14-year-old Hayley and an older photographer Jeff, which takes an unexpected turn. And she starred as well in Whip it (2009), Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, as Bliss Avender (a.k.a Babe Ruthless), a teenager who is drawn to the world of the underground roller-derby. Her roles are, if nothing, unconventional, and always manages to be something different from the typical characters we are used to seeing on screen.
And there’s more to Ellen Page besides being a festival darling, if it surprises anyone. She is also a fierce advocate of LGBT movement and women’s rights. Coming out publicly in 2014 was a sign that her acting career will take an unexpected turn. In many interviews, Page had expressed that she got to a point where living a life that is authentic to her true self became more important than the movies she will be starring in. And her recent course of action does relay her conviction. In 2015, Page produced a documentary series “Gaycation” (created with Vice and Spike Jonze, airing soon). In the documentary series, Page travels across the world with her friend Ian Daniel, recording experiences of the individuals of LGBT community. And it would be hard to imagine Page producing something like this if it were not for her opening up to the world and revealing her true self, not an easy feat by any measure.
Page is still young and talent is not something she lacks. We’ll see how she will navigate her screen presence in the future and stay true to herself while continuing to inspire many others.
Written by Avery Jung