Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why isn't Ellen Page a big star already?

I've often wondered (yes, really, I find it much more fun than thinking about my actual job) why more people don't give Ellen Page starring roles.

Sure, Drew Barrymore gave her the lead in "Whip It," but, especially given the subject matter, that was much more tame and less funny than it could have been. And she has a pretty big role in Christopher Nolan's new flick, "Inception" (which I'll be geeking out for at the midnight show), but that one will of course be all about Leo.

But I just assumed (and hoped) that after "Juno," young Ellen Page would become a big star in something besides TV commercials, because she certainly deserves it. Well, now comes word from Cannes that she has indeed signed on for a new leading role, though not in anything that should bring her anywhere near the multiplexes in my little corner of the world.

Endgame has signed her to star in a dramatic feature based on Cynthia Wade's short documentary "Freeheld," which certainly has a timely topic for our times. Page will play a New Jersey car mechanic whose police detective girlfriend is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The documentary was and feature will be about their battle to secure her partner's pension benefits, which, rather amazingly, is apparently still an issue.

Not exactly the most uplifting of subjects, but hopefully in the hands of screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, who won an Oscar for "Philadelphia," some properly powerful stuff.

Except for that, I really don't have much today before "True Blood" except that the CW has somehow renewed a show that I thought only me and about six other people watched (though that may indeed be a high enough number for renewal there.) I'm not sure if it will be in the fall with a full 22-0r-so season or in Winter again for 13 more episodes.

Either way, I really like the show about a 16-year-old (Britt Robertson) who, after growing up in a series of foster homes, reunites with and is taken in by the parents who abandoned her (Shiri Appleby and Kristoffer Polaha) shortly after she was conceived during a one-night stand in high school. Surprisingly, it's often as serious as the subject matter would call for, but also very funny and overall an odd fit in the CW lineup. I'll certainly be tuning in for as many episodes as they bother to make from here on out.

OK, enough of anything serious, because "True Blood" returns to HBO for season three beginning June 13, and as you can see from the first full trailer below, the series will continue to take all kinds of liberties from the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. In season three, among the colorful characters coming are Alcide (Joe Manganiello), a werewolf charged with protecting Sookie (Anna Paquin) as she searches for the missing Bill (Stephen Moyer); the mysterious (as opposed to mundane, I suppose) vampire Franklin Mott (James Frain), who latches on to Tara (Rutina Wesley); and Denis O'Hare as Russell Edgington, the vampire king of Mississippi.

All those characters make at least brief appearances in the novels, all of which, yes, I've read, but much of the fun (almost none of it, thankfully, high-minded) of the show comes in seeing in how their roles are greatly expanded. I'm thoroughly enjoying "Treme," but "True Blood" and that David Simon New Orleans show back to back? The South is indeed rising again. Enjoy the full "True Blood" trailer, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Peace out.

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