Rarely has the cliché 'a star is born' been better applied than to the precociously talented Ellen Page. Following her breakout role in 2007 indie comedy Juno as a pregnant teen, she had critics declaring her "frighteningly talented" and "wise beyond her years". Despite an Oscar nomination at the age of 20, the petite Canadian actress hasn't let her stellar rise to fame change her, though.
If things don't work out, Ellen insists she would be just as happy working as an organic farmer in Nova Scotia. It's unlikely, however, that Hollywood is going to let go of one of the most naturally gifted actors of her generation.
Born February 21, 1987, in Halifax to a teacher mother and graphic designer father Ellen made her small screen debut at the age of ten. Her role in locally-produced TV movie Pit Pony
led to an award nomination and a regular role in the spin-off TV series. She continued to combine working in Canadian films such as Marion Bridge
and TV shows like Trailer Park Boys
for which she won a Gemini while keeping up her education and indulging in her love of sports.
It wasn't long before more daring, darker and challenging roles presented themselves. After playing a runaway in the Europe-lensed independent film Mouth To Mouth
, she tackled the role of an adolescent, paedophile-tracking vigilante in 2005's Hard Candy
. One critic described the result as "one of the most complex, disturbing and haunting performances of the year''. She became known to a wider audience for her portrayal of Kitty Pryde in big-budget Hollywood flick X-Men: The Last Stand
, but it was her heartstring-tugging role as the eponymous heroine in surprise hit Juno
which cemented her reputation as a standout young star.
''Ms Page owns her character the way Audrey Hepburn owned Holly Golightly, and the role is going to make her a star,'' predicted The New York Times
. And, sure enough, at just 20-years-old she was named breakthrough artist of the year at the Hollywood film festival. She was also nominated in the best actress category for a Golden Globe and for the biggest prize of all, an Academy Award.
She has been universally praised for making her characters utterly believable. ''What makes her truly special is that she's incapable of having dishonest moments," says Juno
director Jason Reitman. Like others who have directed or starred with Ellen, he has also been amazed by her intelligence. "She's way too smart for her age," he told a US newspaper in January 2008. ''It's embarrassing sometimes to have a conversation with her."
By all accounts Ellen is a voracious reader, but far from being bookish she's something of a tomboy with an adventurous streak. Unpretentious to a fault, she'd much rather be in jeans and t-shirt than ballgowns, loves the outdoors and likes to wind down by camping, snowboarding and backpacking around Europe. In her spare time plays guitar and listens to Icelandic rock music.
Her future on screen is likely to be an interesting ride if she continues to pick parts that challenge her talents. In 2007 she also starred in experimental film The Tracey Fragments
, in which she appears as a bullied teenager whose life is falling apart, while in An American Crime
she portrays a girl tortured in a basement. And the following year she signed up to play a lesbian teenage werewolf in Jack And Diane
, showing that, if nothing else, she has an unerring eye for the eclectic.