WHIP IT Interview Part 1: Ellen Page


Just a couple of days ago, we got to sit down and do roundtable interviews with most of the cast  of Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, Whip It. The coming-of-age comedy/sports drama starring Ellen Page.

Unlike other press junkets, that take place weeks or months before the film's release date, this took place mere days before it's Oct. 2nd release... that's tomorrow! The people at Fox Searchlight, and the actors/writer/director were all extremely pleasant under the stress. We were very pleased to get to sit down with a relaxed Ellen Page, who is completely at the top of her game in this film. (For a more in depth exploration of her performance and the film, you can read  my review here)

She first popped up on our radar with her menacing performance in Hard Candy, and has since gone on to land herself roles in blockbusters like X-Men 3, and earn an Oscar nod for her role in Juno.

So check out the interview in which she fills us in on how she prepared for and what attracted her to this role, what it was like to work with Drew Barrymore and Kristen Wiig, and what it was like to film the incredible underwater scene featured in the film.

As a bonus, Page got a little less relaxed, and went on a funny "Ellen Page rant" that she apologizes for having us witness. Check out the interview and let us know what you think.

-How hard was this? Was it more fun than hard?

It was way more fun than hard. It'd probably be different for different people. I mean I always played sports when I was a kid. I'm a snowboarder, and if I'm ever shooting in the winter, I can't snowboard. And it's really hard for me, because [I'm] contractually obliged not to. It's too risky.

So it's awesome to shoot a movie and simultaneously being smashed around on a derby track.

Did you do any rollerblading growing up, and how was that different from the experience of this?

I mean I ice-skated a little, I rollerbladed a little, I never had roller-skates on in my life. It's a little different just a metter of where your center of balance is. I could put roller skates on and skate. BUt learning how to roller derby was obviously a whole new ball game. But I had a really good teacher, and trained for three months, I just had so much fun.


Can you go through filming the underwater make-out session?

We started with that shot where it obviously takes us down. And then just continued for a few hours to shoot(laughs). It's one of those things that when you're shooting it you're like, 'Oh wow, nobody would ever do this.' But ummm...(laughs) I mean you might and be like, 'Whoa, this isn't nearly as sexy as it was in the movie.(Laughs) But it was really fun and really fun to do it with Landon[Pigg].

I don't usually/typically watch rushes or anything. But when we watched play of it, it just looked gorgeous. Then when I see it in the film with that Jens Lekman song playing("Another Sweet night on Hammer Hill"), I just absolutely love it. The playful quality of it, and the dream like [quality].

It was physically pretty hard to shoot. By the end of the night I was ready to go home(laughs).

What was the attraction of this character? What lead you to her?

What I really liked about this character, as corny as it sounds, [is] probably the journey she goes on. How at the beginning she's very shy and introverted. And how she's kinda doing something, not that she's "evilly" forced into, but something that's not really igniting passion for her in her life.

[Then she] finally discovers something that allows her to connect to a sense of confidence and something that allows her to see her full potential. And to achieve that is just an exciting journey.


Some of the most important scenes were between you and Marcia Gay Harden, if you could talk about how you two established a report, and what it was like working with her.

It's always amazing as a young actor to work with someone who's had such an unbelievable career full of so many accolades, and played such a diverse role of characters.

The mother/daughter story is one of the things that attracted me to this film. How it took a kinda unconventional, what felt to me, very very sincere approach to these two women and how they both absolutely love each other and there's just been this kind of lapse in communication. Because of transition that is occurring in both of their lives, just the disconnect that is created. And Being able to work with someone that is as talented as Marcia to explore that was really a great experience.

Do you work out either with her or the director or with yourself, parts of the character's background that we don't see o screen? Like her past? Is that something that might help you? Or do you just stick with what goes into the script?

That's not really my style or my way of working. I mean a lot of actors do stuff like that, but not really me, no. I don't really do the past thing, personally.

Drew tapped you for this role before you did Juno. After doing Juno and going on to this, did you have to go through wanting to approach this differently?

This character doesn't feel remotely like Juno to me. That's not something that really ever existed because she's just not like Juno. It's funny cuz' I remember when the movie was first starting to be publicized, I read a couple of things. Some woman was talking about Whip It on TV, and she kinda did a like (pretends to hold a microphone, and does impression of a nasally reporter) 'Can Ellen Page play ANYTHING other than an Indie loving misfit? I'll guess we'll SEE!' Or something like this.

And I was like, 'First of all, what just crawled up your ass?' (laughs) And second of all, just because it's a girl who's not trying to get a Mercedes Benz for her 16th birthday doesn't mean that she's the exact same as Juno, for goodness sake.

Anyway, (let's out deep breath)

Something you had to get off your chest?

Ellen Page's rant, yeah, of... sorry guys. Sorry you had to witness that.

Who else do you hate?

I don't hate anybody... I really don't.


In the film, the Hurl Scouts don't go off the playbook. How off the "playbook" did Drew let you and the rest of the cast go, as far as improvising?

She'd let us improvise. And she'd let us trail off in the end. Especially with someone like Kristen Wiig who's... can we just for a second, the funniest person I've ever met and i just adore her. From now onward, any movie that she's in that I'm not in, I'm like pissed off. I'm like, 'Can I just play a small part or something?' (laughs) And I am always trying to think of things to write for us, but she's not returning my phone calls. Just kidding.

So especially with someone like Kristen. [She'd] just let us go, and it's fun.

You've mentioned, rightly so, kinda mocking Hollywood's need and the media's need to pigeon hole actors. But that does eventually become a concern. How do you go about selecting roles? And is there a sense of, 'Well I don't wanna take this role, because it feels too much like Juno or Haley Stark?

Good job on remembering of [my charachters name in] Hard Candy. I would have probably forgotten if you asked me.

It's funny, because it's one of those things where I read a script, and if my blood stars to boil and I like fade into it and then comeback, realize what I've just read, and see this character who I want to spend time with, who I want to figure out, and something that feels sincere and honest with me--It's probably gonna be something slightly different from those things because I've already done that. So it's just not where my immediate instinctual interest is going to go to.

But it is funny when people do that thing like, 'All your roles are like Juno.'

I've been working since I was ten years old ya know? I feel like I don't really [understand] that. But that's fine I guess, people can think that if they want, that's great. Does that make sense?

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