Ellen Page is a star, this we all know. She has headlined a hit movie. She has earned an Academy Award nomination. She has even become pitchwoman for a major brand. (Oh, Cisco Systems, how little I would care about you if it wasn’t for those adorable commercials.) So then why isn’t Hollywood letting her shine like she should?
In her next film, Super, she plays the sidekick of Rainn Wilson’s makeshift superhero. Her planned HBO series, Tilda, where she would have played the sidekick to Diane Keaton’s gossip blogger, recently fell through. And in her last major film, Inception, she played sidekick to Leonardo DiCaprio and some really freaky dreams. Um, no disrespect to these projects, but how about we give Ellen her own damn movie.
Since her big breakout in 2007, Ellen has made just one film where she was the headlining star, 2009’s Whip It alongside Drew Barrymore. By contrast, since that same year when Michael Cera co-stared with Ellen in Juno and broke out on his own with Superbad, he has made five films where he was the lead or co-lead. (Note: Ellen’s indie release An American Crime was shot before Juno, even though it was released after.)
Granted, some of this is undoubtedly Ellen’s own doing. She tends toward more independent films instead of blockbusters (Kitty Pryde aside) and appears to choose her roles carefully. Perhaps she is getting swamped with scripts where she plays the lead in some hipster rom-com and ends up riding off into the sunset with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a Vespa. But the roles she has been offered and taken have her too often playing second fiddle.
Super director James Gunn told the Los Angeles Times that Ellen said she was attracted to the role of the somewhat psychotic sidekicks to Rainn’s faux hero because it was different from her past work. He said:
Ellen said to me when we first met, “I’m so sick of being offered all these characters who are wise beyond their years,” which Juno is, Hard Candy is, and this is a character who is the opposite of that. It’s a 22-year-old, but the girl’s got a mentality of an 11-year-old. And she’s over-sexualized and over-excited and ADHD and everything else. We talked a lot about her killing her superego and ego and going all the way with it. The first day we shot, she had to drive this car into a wall and come running out laughing at these criminals in her bra and it was 14 degrees outside. And she was magnificent.
OK, two things. 1) Dream a little bigger, Hollywood, and give Ellen some better roles than just Juno Lite. 2) Ellen is in her bra in this movie? I need to Fandango my tickets immediately.
Ellen does have some potentially worthy projects in the works. She is still attached to the long gestating lesbian drama Freeheld, about the real-life legal battle a lesbian couple went through to ensure that the pension of a terminally ill police woman was passed on to her partner. Twilight and Red Riding Hood director Catherine Hardwicke is on board to direct, but there seems to be little momentum at the moment.
And then there’s the still in the early stages project with her other Whip It co-star Alia Shawkat to create the hipster comedy Stitch N’ Bitch for HBO. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun, like Portlandia but for the California set.
But until those projects get off the ground, we have to content ourselves with Ellen in smaller doses. I mean, it’s impossible to resist a girl in a homemade spandex superhero costume, right?
So, what do you think? Does Ellen deserve to be front and center more? Or are you happy to get your home skillet any way you can?