Ellen Page’s star first fell on Hollywood’s map when the young actress starred as a vengeful teen in 2005’s Hard Candy. Then came a role as mutant Kitty Pryde in 2006’s superhero blockbuster X-Men: The Last Stand. But, of course, once 2007 rolled along, most theater-going folks associated Page with Juno MacGuff, the plucky, pregnant teen from Juno that stole America’s hearts — and won Page an Oscar nomination.
Fast-forward three years later, and Page still has yet to play a role that has audiences reaching for their hamburger phones. She was predictably precocious in Smart People, and perfectly charming in Drew Barrymore’s underrated directorial debut Whip It. But neither of those films (nor the direct-to-DVD disappointment Peacock) hit hard enough to get people talking — or allowed audiences to separate her from her SunnyD-swigging alter ego. But I’m guessing things might change with this latest bit of casting news: Yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Page was set to star in a feature adaptation of Cynthia Wade’s Oscar-winning short documentary Freeheld, which, according to THR, centers on “New Jersey car mechanic Stacie Andree, who’ll be played by Page, and her police detective girlfriend Laurel Hester, who both battled to secure Hester’s pension benefits after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness.”
Putting aside the fact that this new film will no doubt fuel chatter about Page’s rumored sexuality, Freeheld could give Page the performance she needs to transcend Juno. (And it doesn’t hurt that the film will encourage some necessary political debate.) What’s more, since the documentary is already an Academy Award-winner, it’s only natural that Oscar will have his golden eye on Page’s performance, right? Page’s career should also get a boost as early as this summer, when she stars in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. But I think it’s more likely that folks will walk away talking less about Page, and more about…whatever the heck that movie’s about.
So is Page’s decision to star in Freeheld a wise one? (And are you as interested in the film as I am?) Or will Page always be Juno to you?