Hmmm ... well, file this one under "this could be an interesting casting decision." Variety reported yesterday that Ellen Page, who's been one of my favorite young actresses since I saw her in Hard Candy, has signed on to play one of classic literature's greatest (and most adapted) heroines, Jane Eyre, in an adaptation for BBC.
On the one hand, I can see Page physically in the role -- she looks very like the waif-like Jane in the ancient hardcover edition of the book I inherited from my great-grandmother, all narrow-faced and doe-eyed. And she's certainly proven that she has the acting chops to take on a serious role (see her performances in both Hard Candy and An American Crime).
Of late, though, she's become so identified with the snarky, wise-cracking teenagers she played in Juno and Smart People, that it may be a bit hard now to wash the modern, smart-mouthed teen out of our collective viewing palettes. I say this as a fan of both Page and Juno -- and Lord knows, I've taken enough crap here and elsewhere for loving Juno over the last year -- but I'm trying to wrap my mind around Page as one of the most depressing heroines in literature (all right, Wuthering Heights' Cathy is perhaps more depressing, but until the very end of the book, Jane Eyre isn't what I'd call cheery and uplifting).
Maybe Page is taking on Jane Eyre because she doesn't want to get stereotyped playing the smart-assed teen roles forever, which is probably a good move on her part. I've just got this bizarre mental picture of Page saying, "Yo, Mr. Rochester? Can you hang on a minute? I'm on my hamburger phone ... " Oh, I'm kidding. Probaby she'll be just fine in the role, she's a talented actress. No word yet on who's playing the other main roles, or who the director will be, but we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, what do you think of Page playing this role?