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Ellen Page Talks About 'Hard Candy'

Page and Patrick Wilson Give Audiences Something to Think About

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Ellen Page stars in Hard Candy

Ellen Page stars in 'Hard Candy'.

© Lions Gate Films
The psychotic thriller Hard Candy marks music video director David Slade's feature film directorial debut. The story follows 14-year-old Hayley (Ellen Page) as she turns the tables on a 30ish photographer named Jeff (played by Patrick Wilson) she met on the Internet. After agreeing to meet, the two wind up at Jeff's home where he quickly learns Hayley's only masquerading as innocent.

Ellen Page Provides Her Take on Her Hard Candy Character: “I wouldn’t say she’s evil or sick at all. I think she’s an extremely passionate, intelligent young woman. I actually found it kind of inspiring in a way, and in a symbolic sense perhaps. But no, I wouldn’t think she’s crazy or evil. I think she sees something wrong with society. She’s irritated that people are ignoring it and she’s going to do something about it.”

Landing the Lead Role in Hard Candy: “I was in Toronto and I read the script and I had just shaved my head for a film so I sent a tape - but I had a shaved head. I guess David liked it but the producers were like, ‘For Christ’s sake, David, she has a shaved head. And then later I flew down and auditioned and luckily they gave me the role."

Leaving the Character on the Set at the End of the Day: Page said it was difficult to leave this role behind each day when filming wrapped. “I think elements go home with you. On this film, because we shot it in 18 days, it was kind of grey because the immediacy I think made it the film that it is, kind of like a manic nature. But yeah, I would go home and obviously there was a lot of dialogue, memorize lines, sleep, wake up, go to set, but it’s why I love to do it.”

On Handling Difficult Scenes: Page couldn’t name the most difficult scene to shoot. Instead she said, “Actually, sometimes it’s the much simpler things that can be - or what appear to be simpler - can be more difficult. Like I wanted to maintain vulnerability in the sense of her being 14 and not some kind of superhero or whatever.”

The Initial Reaction to the Script: “It totally blew me away. First of all, I found it just incredibly engrossing and obviously original. And then on top of that, to read a role written for a teenage girl with so much passion and intelligence… That was extremely refreshing because most scripts I get are like girlfriend of the lead at this point or oh, she’s doing cool things and then she gets a crush on a boy or something like that.”

Hard Candy and the Internet: Could this movie make parents think more about online safety? Page said, “That’d be great. We didn’t make the movie as a preaching about the evil of the Internet or anything. But yeah, if it makes people more excited then that’s great. I mean, it can be a scary thing but it can also be a great thing, like pretty much anything in our world.”

Life on the Set: Page and co-star Patrick Wilson didn’t spend much time relaxing and talking between takes. “Well, there wasn’t much time. It wasn’t like a normal movie,” said Page. “Actually, no, what am I saying? I grew up working in Canada so everything was low budget. It’s true, like 18 days I’ve done tons of times. There isn’t really a lot of time to be friendly, nor did I really want to be. Patrick was awesome and he’s a great guy, a great actor but yeah, I mean, the immediate nature of such a shoot doesn’t really allow for playful chit chat.”

The two Hard Candy stars didn’t hang out off of the set either. “It’s really interesting. I really don’t really know Patrick very well because we met, rehearsed, shot this movie and in New York the other day is the first time I’ve seen him since we finished shooting.”

The Reaction of Audiences to Hard Candy: “I think what’s interesting about the film is people are justifying a guy who’s done something so awful and like still try and justify it. I think it’s because they get scared because they were feeling a tremendous amount of sympathy for him.

The whole point of this movie is that neither character is really right or wrong and you leave without any answers. I find right now movies give too [many] answers. We really like to categorize things. It makes us feel safe as humans, I think. Things are always pigeonholed. I think this movie scares people because they’re not given answers. It’s not cut and dry just like life isn’t cut and dry for God’s sake.”

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