Ellen Page and Diablo Cody on taking risks
Ellen Page, to “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody: You have to take risks and go against conventional wisdom and structure. What was that like.
Diablo Cody: I guess I didn’t see the point of adding another conventional story to the pile; there are so many.
I guess I would rather fail doing something off the wall, than succeed at something pedestrian. That’s my whole philosophy in life.
Ellen Page: If I don’t take a risk, I get really, really bored. And being challenged stems from taking a risk. …
Diablo Cody: Was there ever a time in your life when you were tempted to follow the traditional starlet route?
Ellen Page: No, not in the slightest. I’d rather be shot in the foot.
[From Diablo Cody’s former blog The Pussy Ranch.]
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There are different ways to risk, sometimes it can be a choice to pull back, not take an “obvious” path.
Sarah Polley on turning down a “star-maker role”
Years ago, Sarah Polley made the decision to back out of a “star-maker role” in the film Almost Famous (which was then played by Kate Hudson).
“I don’t believe in conspiracy theories,” Polley commented, “and I don’t believe Hollywood is as organized or as paranoid as people believe, but there are certain roles where it’s all sort of mapped out and pre-determined.
“This was one of them. And at the last second I pulled back.”
She continued, “I think those moments where you decide not to do something, in the face of nobody understanding that decision, are the moments that form you, that carve you out. It will always be a part of who I am, that I did that.”
The role, though she doesn’t say so, was in the film Almost Famous. It’s not a secret, but Polley doesn’t want to take anything away from Kate Hudson, whom she felt was terrific in the role.
She says, “I was miscast. I just knew it wasn’t my part.”
And upon seeing Hudson in the role, “I felt redeemed, because she brought a depth and an intelligence to it that wasn’t there for me.”)
At any rate, Almost Famous was not the first or the last time Polley made a career decision that seemed odd to others. She has no regrets. “I’m so glad I did what I did. I’m so glad I stayed in Toronto. I have never regretted it, because I’m still doing the kinds of film I love.
“I really believe you don’t get to do films you want to do by first doing films you don’t want to do.”
Laughing at herself, Polley then explains that having taken such an idealistic stand made it tough for her to accept Dawn Of The Dead.
“There was more pressure and more stigma attached to deciding to do a mainstream film than in turning your back on one, because everyone likes the idea of a maverick, everyone likes the idea of an outsider.”
It’s not, she hastens to add, that she’s avoiding anything.
“It’s not that I don’t want to get famous, or that I’m one of those actors who is ‘all about the work’ — it’s that I don’t want my life to get small.
“I think Reese Witherspoon said that, and I thought that was a brilliant way to put it. You’re so limited. And I want my world to get bigger, not smaller.”
From article Her life, with her – by Liz Braun, Toronto Sun, Oct 29, 2003