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Ellen Page on Whip It

Published October 5, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox Searchlight
Whip It PosterWhip It
We’ve usually seen Ellen Page as the sarcastic teen. Obviously Juno but even her intense turn in Hard Candy or her metaphorical angst in X-Men: The Last Stand was consistent. In Whip It, you’ll see her happy. When she skates around the rink, that smile looks genuine. Or maybe she’s just that good an actor.

Ellen Page Talks Whip It

“It’s both,” Page said. “I mean, I’m playing someone who’s found something that ignites a passion and fire within them. That feeling is amazing. I always played sports as a kid and loved it, played soccer really competitively and then I got to be paid to throw my body and my mind into something. I loved roller derby so I was having a blast.”

There were downsides to skating. A particular concern for female skaters was fishnet burn. “Oh yeah, fishnet burn is when you fall and skid so fast on the ground, obviously you’re wearing fishnets that it makes the mark embed itself into your skin. I’ve gotten some rink burn for sure but I’ve never had it with the fishnet pattern.”

Bruises became symbols of pride for the cast of the roller derby drama. “I never got that big bruises. Drew [Barrymore] had a lot of bruises but she just bruises easily. I got more bruise from being punched in the arm by Drew than from roller derby because we had a female fight club going on. I don't know if you saw that at the end of the movie. That kind of was going on through the whole movie and I had more bruises on my arms because when I watch the movie, you can tell in some of the beauty pageant scenes that there’s makeup covering bruises here and I notice and you just think it’s from derby. No, it’s from being punched by Drew, but everybody. We all punched each other. Long hours make one a loopy gal.”

Perhaps Page avoided the serious bruises because she trained harder than everyone else. “I trained for about three months for derby. So I went to a trainer for about three months and then simultaneously with another trainer just to get stronger. But I loved it and how amazing to have a job where you get paid to learn how to roller derby.”

There was also some acting involved in the film. “First and foremost it was a good screenplay. It felt sincere, the relationships felt sincere and the resurgence of derby in the roller derby world was just interesting to me. I thought it was great for young women, a world where women could be aggressive and competitive and strong and come in all shapes and sizes.”

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox Searchlight

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