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
National

New Apple iPhone to have 'mobile wallet' function:…

(Reuters) - Apple Inc plans to enable its next iPhone to become a mobile wallet by allowing owners to securely make mobile payments in a…

Money

Second Shift: Balancing school, work and a side…

See how a Brooklynite balances getting her PhD while working two other jobs.

Local

NYPD: Early morning shootings reported along West Indian…

Several shootings were reported in the early morning hours before the West Indian Day Parade, according to the NYPD. A 55-year-old man was shot and…

Money

Investing: Buying low, selling high

Learn how rebalancing can help you be successful in investing.

Entertainment

Where to place the blame in a nude…

When a celebrity's private photos are leaked online, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that they only have themselves to blame, since they took…

Gossip

Security expert weighs in on 'The Fappening' and…

We speak to Rik Ferguson, vice president of security firm Security Research at Trend Micro, about the hundreds of hacked celebrity photos that leaked.

Gossip

Who is Ashlee Simpson’s new husband anyway?

Find out five things about Ashlee Simpson's new husband, Evan Ross.

Entertainment

Jennifer Lawrence and more: The big names on…

The names of more than 100 famous actresses, musicians and athletes were included in a list of purported hacking victims, nude photos of whom were…

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…

Career

The number of telecommuters is expected to nearly…

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more…

Wellbeing

Your new food ally to ward off type…

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a small nutrition trial from…