Ellen Page -- The East Interview

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Ellen Page stars in The East and tells Movie Fanatic exclusively about the magic of movie making. Page set the tone for the film with her first day of shooting.

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The East
Ellen Page
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Interviewer: I was curious why it was important for you to tell this story right now. Zal: I've long been fascinated by the history of marrying the issues of the time with a thriller. The coolest films have always meant a lot to me, like 'The Paralax View' or 'All the President's Men'; where you're mainlining into the anxieties of his generation and his time, and using a thriller as the right vehicle for that. Brit and I both felt that we live in a really strange time; a time that it's hard for me to make sense of. We wanted to try and tell a story that would raise a lot of these questions. We didn't have answers, but we certainly thought we'd start the conversation. Interviewer: You certainly have. I was curious for you; these 2 have worked together so brilliantly for the last couple of films. Since you're new to their world, what do you take away? What do you think is the secret of why they're just so successful at what they do? Ellen: They're both just brilliant people. Creatively in their intent for wanting to tell stories and wanting to make films, I just think is really beautiful. When you meet them, you feel that immediately; you feel this desire for adventure and exploring. You immediately want to jump in and be a part of it. There's a lot of passion that's just palpable and contagious. They're closeness is very evident, and yet obviously, they have incredible collaborations together. You don't feel isolated from that; you don't feel like you're not invited to the party. There's an openness, an immediate feeling of trust makes the experience of actually making the film really incredible. Interviewer: It obviously deals with a serious subject matter. I think you get the sense that you all came together as such a strong group together. Was there a best day on the set? What was it and why? Is it hard to pick one? Zal: When it is, the first day? Ellen: I don't know; the first day. Zal: First day was a pretty good day. Ellen: The first day was great, just to sort of . . . Zal: Yeah, the first day, the very first shot of the movie is Izzy, Ellen's character, naked. She came to set, and I thought, "How is Ellen going to handle this?" I think you were in a bath robe. She came to set, and she just dropped the robe and got into the position she was supposed to be in. That was that. It was really cold, so she was shaking a lot. I was like, "What's going to happen when I call action?" Not only were all the other actors around, because it was a group scene and they were looking at her too, and wondering what was going to happen, but the crew was, too. The moment I called out that action, she totally was still. She was so in the moment, and was so Izzy all of a sudden. She was fully naked and everybody else was clothed, including all the other actors. In that moment, she totally changed the whole tone and tenor for the whole film. The actors and the crew thought, "Wow. We have started a very serious film. People are willing to come and bare all, literally." In the end, the film would be much more emotionally bare than it would be physically bare, but Ellen set that tone. You talk about me and Brit's collaboration, but we really feel like we're diggers, we're excavators, and we were excavating. We just have great people who end up becoming our friends join us to come excavate. On that day, Ellen was leading the charge. She had found some fossils, and she was leading the charge. Interviewer: That's amazing. Ellen: I just showed up and did my job. I like that just because I think it's better to just jump in. Starting projects on a note like that, I always like as an actor. It's better to just jump in than put your pinky in the shallow end.

The East Review

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij have done it again. The duo have written another riveting screenplay (after last year’s Sound of My...

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User Rating

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (3 Votes)