Best-known for her role in 'Juno', Ellen Page's new film is 'Whip It', a coming of age story set in the world of roller derbies. Page plays Bliss, a teenager who escapes from her mother's much-loved beauty pageants and joins a team of roller derby misfits in Texas. She talks about the film's appeal and working with her director and co-star, Drew Barrymore.
Apart from the fact that your character Bliss is on roller skates, 'Whip It' covers a lot of ground.
Ellen Page: I think what's great about this film is, although we have the rock and roll, cool, sporty aspect, there is also this very real story behind everything and a young woman who goes through all these changes in age. I think Drew [Barrymore, director] has produced and been in films that have a positive, high energy but also a very distinctive sense of honesty, and I think she is so great at managing to mould those two together and create a really great film people will be able to connect with.
Bliss goes through quite a transformation - leaving the beauty pageants scene her mother is involved in and getting her skates on instead.
EP: She doesn’t feel completely comfortable there [beauty pageants] or being judged in that way, rather for her own personal style I suppose. She begins to fight against [that] and she ends up trying out for a roller derby team in Texas, and gets on the team and craziness ensues.
The film has that mother-daughter relationship as one of its themes.
EP: You see a mother/daughter relationship different to what we have seen before. You know, we have a rebellious teenager pushing her mother away. She absolutely loves her mother and she wants to please her mother and feels a lot of guilt when she doesn't and I think that's such an interesting dynamic we don't typically see.
So what is the allure of Roller Derby?
EP: I think what's great is it can be any girl who feels passion towards it. I think that's the great thing about roller derby: it doesn't matter what you look like or if you're a size two or a size eight or whatever in that whole realm of insecurities surrounding being a young woman - it really doesn't matter. Girls who have never played sports before in your life, who hated them, hated jocks [and] the whole realm are putting on roller-skates and learning how to be roller derby girls. You know some of these girls are the best. I think it is so empowering in the sense that anybody can do it.
This is Drew Barrymore's first film as a director.
EP: Drew first of all is incredible she's has thrown her entire heart and being into this, always exudes positivity and just pure energy. That in general to have as [in] your director is an absurd gift.
'Whip It' is in cinemas now. Read the review.