by Kevin Powers, published on May 7, 2008|
As many know, I love me some Ellen Page, ever since she surprised audiences as the adorable little psycho in Hard Candy. Her role in Juno was equally impressive, but obviously on the other end of the spectrum. As for Smart People, she seemed to channel her Juno performance a bit, which is to say she delivered the familiar beyond-her-years intelligence and jokes. So I've started to wonder whether she's in fear of typecasting, since she plays the whip-smart young adult with a surprising degree of confidence and sophisticated humor so naturally. Page's recently announced project puts those fears to rest a bit, but now I wonder how well she'll pull this off. Producers of The Other Boleyn Girl are working with the BBC on yet another adaptation of Jane Eyre for which Page will play the lead.
Since Page's hallmark humor and feminist swagger won't exactly work in a 19th Century period piece, how well could she do in this role? I think it's safe to say this could be Page's most challenging performance to date. And if she pulls it off, it might just rocket her up a few notches in the industry, showing she has some real flexibility.
As good 'ol Wikipedia tells us: Jane Eyre is a first-person narrative of the title character, a small, plain-faced, intelligent, and passionate English orphan girl. The plot follows the form of a Bildungsroman, a novel that tells the story of a child's maturation and focuses on the emotions and experiences that lead to her maturity. The novel goes through five distinct stages: (1) Jane's childhood at Gateshead, where she is abused by her aunt and cousin; (2) her education at Lowood School, where she acquires friends and role models but also suffers privations; (3) her time as governess at Thornfield Manor, where she falls in love with her Byronic employer, Edward Rochester; (4) her time with the Rivers family at Marsh's End (or Moor House) and at Morton, where her cold clergyman-cousin St. John Rivers proposes to her; and (5) her reunion with and marriage to her beloved Rochester at his house of Ferndean.
Variety's reporting of the news seems to indicate the film will primarily focus on #3. I suppose it's up to the unknown scribe, Moira Buffini, to work this out and determine how many of the 400-some pages of the original story make it to the screen. No director is currently attached, but the producers are aiming to set the project up to shoot this fall.
Personally, I'm more looking forward to Page starring opposite Cillian Murphy in the upcoming psychological thriller Peacock. Gender-mixed alter egos and these two sparring sounds so much more delicious than a 19th Century yarn. But that's probably just me.