Ellen Page Calls Working With Woody Allen ‘Trippy’

'It's a very dreamlike feeling,' 'To Rome With Love' actress tells MTV News.
By Fallon Prinzivalli

Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg in "To Rome To Love"
Photo: Philippe Antonello/Gravier Productions/Sony Pictur

Ellen Page has come a long way from the girl whose wit stole our hearts in "Juno." From the psychological thriller "Peacock" — about a man who can't seem to control his alter ego, Emma — to the sci-fi blockbuster hit "Inception," she's taken on an array of roles that prove her acting talent. In the upcoming Woody Allen film "To Rome With Love," we'll get to see Page assume another character that strays widely from her usual lovable disposition as she seduces her friend's boyfriend.

The movie follows four separate stories, all taking place in Rome, Italy. When Monica (Page) jets off to the Eternal City after breaking up with her boyfriend, she begins a romance with her best friend Monica's (Greta Gerwig) guy, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg). When MTV News spoke with the actress recently, she told us what it was like to work with the ensemble cast, what she found challenging about the role and what's next in her career.

MTV: What lead you to choose this script?

Ellen Page: Well, you know, Woody Allen wrote it, so that has nothing to do with it. [Laughs.] And also, it was just a role and a character that I had not done before — at all — so it was exciting and challenging and nerve-wracking, and all those things which are really nice to feel.

MTV: What else attracted you to that role?

Page: I guess, probably just exploring something that was so far removed from myself. Like, I was confused as to why Woody wanted me to do it, you know? It scared me and I think it was about figuring out how to be able to feel comfortable in that and do something new.

MTV: Was that what you found challenging about the part?

Page: I don't know about comfortability, but maybe believing it. You know, like you yourself and hoping that others will too. And it's challenging because it's confusing. When you're doing something that's for a vignette, you have limited time. It's not like you are going in depth with this strenuous arc of a character. So in some ways that makes it more difficult or more confusing.

MTV: You mentioned Woody Allen. He wrote, directs and stars in the film. What was it like working with him?

Page: Trippy. I feel like that would be the best way to put that. It's a hard thing to really wrap your head around when it's happening — to be standing on the golden, sunlit streets of Rome with Jesse, who's so wonderful and such a talented actor. And then [there's] Woody Allen walking up to you to give you direction. It's a very dreamlike feeling. I sort of forget that it even happened. It's weird.

MTV: What was it like acting opposite Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg?

Page: They're both awesome, and Greta Gerwig as well. We had such a great time together and Jesse is so kind and so down-to-earth. Alec and Greta as well. Just three lovely people to spend every day with all day. I had a really nice time getting to know Alec. I've been such a huge fan of his for so long and I think he's wonderful.

MTV: The film takes on a similar story structure to "Paris, Je T'aime" and "New York, I Love You." Both movies follow separate story lines that don't always connect to one another. Do you think comparisons to the film would be fair?

Page: Well, not particularly, because "Paris Je T'aime" is [comprised of] distinct short films with different directors. I feel like this is different because you have the very distinctive Woody Allen voice. And you have these four scenes that are separate, but ultimately there are themes in the film. It's the invisible things that string it all together. But I wouldn't say that it's comparable to those [films] only because it's not like each vignette is a separate, isolated short film from another person's creative endeavor. It's all one person.

MTV: You recently voiced the character of Lindsey on "Family Guy." You've done voice acting in the past for "The Simpsons." Do you find that more difficult than being in front of the camera?

Page: No, I really love it, actually. I wish I could do more, because you kind of have to overdo everything, obviously, because you're not being seen and it's [only] your voice. That's actually really fun. In my job, it's about making things quiet, I guess. But that's really fun and you get to go in the [studio] and wear whatever you want. It's kind of like my dream job. [Laughs.]

MTV: What's next up for you? We heard "The East" with Alexander Skarsgård is set to release this year.

Page: Yeah, I think that should be coming out this fall. I'm super-excited about "The East." It's going to be really interesting. I'm super-pumped for that movie. [My character] is probably one of the most emotionally and physically exhausting roles, in the best way. It was such a dream role for me that just abruptly popped up in my life. [It] was just so much fun.

MTV: Is there any type of role you're dying to play? Or a particular actor or director you'd love to work with?

Page: I mean, god, that's hard. If I started to name actors and directors I'd love to work with, I wouldn't stop. I just think so many people are incredible [and] when it comes to specific roles, that's always hard to say. I always want to do something that just speaks to me and where I'm at with my life, and something that feels honest and different.

It's Summer Movie Preview Week, and MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated summer movies. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at "The Avengers," Robert Pattinson's "Bel Ami," Kristen Stewart's "Snow White," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and more!

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