Interview: Ellen Page talks about the eco-thriller ‘The East’

Ellen Page plays Credit: Myles Aronowitz
Ellen Page plays an eco-activist and anarchist in the thriller “The East”
Credit: Myles Aronowitz

At 20, Ellen Page became a star playing Juno in the film of the same name. She was nominated for an Academy Award and would go on to make movies like “Whip It” and “Inception.” But first she took some time off. “I studied permaculture, design and eco village development at a place called Lost Valley in Oregon with a lot of people who had the same philosophy — strictly freegan,” she says.

Freeganism, or the practice of salvaging discarded food, was just one of the things that fascinated Page during her month-long stay at the settlement. The experience taught her to live more simply and to really think about her relationship with the planet. Her time there also prepared her for “The East,” a new eco-thriller co-starring Alexander Skarsgard and co-writer Brit Marling. “On top of it being an incredibly beautifully written piece of work, there were so many ideas that I was very excited about and thinking about,” she says.

In the film she plays Izzy, a member of a shadowy group of eco-activists called “The East” — think a more hands-on version of real-life group Anonymous — who live by an anarchist eco code. While Page’s time at the Oregon settlement didn’t involve targeting corporate leaders to make them pay for their crimes against the planet, it did serve as a solid foundation for her character.

“We were able to talk about the experience I had and relate what that does to you as a person when you’ve been raised with this narrative given to us by the system that exists,” she says. “Then you go experience something that completely flips everything on its head. That is a wild ride to go on. Then to walk back out into the world and society, you see things differently.”

It’s a way of life she thinks about daily. “Every morning when I wake up and open my eyes I am unwillingly oppressing a lot of people and the environment to live in the privilege that I have — that we all have living in this area of the world. Not that everyone in this area of the world experiences that. And that’s a hard thing,” she explains. “I think that is something a lot of people are dealing with right now and it is hard to know if running away to the woods and becoming a freegan is the best choice, or do we stay in the infrastructure we’ve inherited and do our best to create positive change? I don’t necessarily know the answer. Maybe I’m just being a selfish jerk.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.