Ellen Page is, frankly, a little intimidating — but in the best way possible. In Juno, the 20-year-old plays one of the most self-assured, forthright young women this side of Angela Chase. In person, she's just as confident when talking about Juno's motivations, the dearth of complex roles for young women, and the emotional connections both she and her character make with music. Recently, a few other reporters and I sat down for a roundtable interview with Page, and this is some of what she had to say:
On what drew her to Juno: "First and foremost, it was an incredible screenplay written by Diablo Cody — one of the best screenplays I've ever read — and a teenage female lead that I felt we'd never seen before, a character devoid of stereotype, a screenplay devoid of stereotype. [Juno is] extremely unique and witty and all of those things, and most importantly she's just extremely genuine and honest and speaks her mind."
On playing strong female characters: "I feel like I've been really, really lucky to play the roles I've gotten to play because whole, honest roles for young women don't often exist. People will be like, 'Whoa, you're such a feminist! You play such young, strong women.' It's like, if I was a guy, you wouldn't be saying that to me. If I was a guy you wouldn't be saying, 'Wow, you play such strong young male roles.' The question wouldn't exist. . . . One of the reasons that drew me to [Juno] was, I don't think we've really seen a girl like this before. I can't think of that many films that have honest, whole, complex young women. I mean, it's like Ghost World, and then I kind of stop."
Lots more from Page, so just
On working with Michael Cera: "He's amazing. He's such a sweetheart and a really stunning human being, and so talented, and super subtle and super honest in every moment. It's a huge gift because he'll be a legend. I feel like as much as Juno's a really amazing young female character, so is the character for Paulie Bleeker. I'm a girl, so I like to talk about how we don't get enough. But guys aren't necessarily treated well by popular media, either — just a bit better than women. But here's a role for young men that I think is great — like a lot of guys I knew in high school."
About getting the Moldy Peaches onto the film's soundtrack: [Director] Jason Reitman asked me the second or third time we met what I thought Juno would listen to, and I said the Moldy Peaches, and he said, 'Who are they?' So I went on his computer and played him the Moldy Peaches, and he fell in love. The next thing I knew, this song ["Anyone Else But You"] was at the end of the film, and he'd contacted Kimya Dawson and her music was going to be in the film. . . . I feel like the Moldy Peaches just match this film perfectly. Their songs are very funny and very unique and witty and there's almost a tinge of novelty to it, but they also have tremendous heart and are just gorgeous, beautiful songs that always tear my heart to pieces — a very specific tone that I feel is similar to the film."
On bringing parts of her own life to Juno: "There were a couple specific things from my life that Jason thought were really funny, but they're not in the movie. One is — it's kind of embarrassing — but my friends and I, we used to . . . this is gonna sound like we're hicks, and we're not. But there was a pickup truck, and we'd go in the back of the pickup truck, and we'd go down the street and you'd yell at someone, "You dropped something!" and they'd look, and you'd yell at them, "No you didn't!" and then drive off. For some reason Jason Reitman thought that was really funny and we shot a scene where Leah and I do that, but it didn't make the movie. Maybe it'll be on the DVD."