Ellen PageVariety confirmed today the rumors that Oscar nominated actress Ellen Page (Juno) has dropped out of Sam Raimi’s upcoming film Drag Me to Hell due to scheduling conflicts. Initial reports, which were on the web late last week, said that Page wasn’t happy with the most recent draft of the script. Variety’s report says something different in that the project, which was scheduled to begin shooting on March 17, has been postponed indefinitely due to the possible Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike.

No matter the reason, this is but one dent in the busy upcoming schedule that is the life of Ellen Page, whose rise to fame could be likened to a Space Shuttle lifting off at Kennedy Space Center. Ever since her major debut in David Slade’s Hard Candy, Page has been creeping up the ranks as one of the most talented young actresses on the face of the planet. But nothing could prepare her for the stardom she has achieved with her Oscar-nominated performance in Juno.

But for those of you who were holding high hopes for Page’s work with director Sam Raimi on Hell, don’t fret just yet, as she has plenty of projects just over the horizon. For all of you Ellen Page maniacs out there, here is a rundown of her upcoming releases and projects:

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Smart People (April 11, 2008)

Making its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Smart People features Page as young Republican Vanessa Wetherhold, the daughter of a widowed Carnegie Mellon prof (Dennis Quaid) struggling to deal with the world around him. As I said in my review of the film, Page really delivers a character that is intelligent, snarky and ultimately lovable — like Juno, only if she were a card-carrying Republican. Page also finds a wonderful on screen balance with Thomas Hayden Church in a storyline that steals the entire film.

Check out the Smart People trailer here. It is being distributed by Miramax, who has it set for limited release on April 11, 2008.

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Whip It! (Winter 2008 / Spring 2009)

Back in early January Whip It! screenwriter Shauna Cross gave us the exclusive scoop that Ellen would be donning a pair of rollerblades on some knee pads to star in Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. Page will play Bliss Cavendar, an indie-rock loving misfit who finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in Austin, Texas. Shooting will begin in March and as long as the SAG strike doesn’t kill it, the film should be ready for a late 2008 / early 2009 release.

Peacock (2009)

Page has been rumored to be co-starring with Cillian Murphy in Peacock, writer/director Michael Lander’s film about a man with a split personality who fools the town of Peacock, Neb. into believing that his two alter-egos are man and wife. Page would play a struggling mother who sparks a battle between the two personalities. The project is currently in pre-production.

Jack and Diane (2010)

At this point, it has been nothing but rumors that have attached Ellen Page’s name to Jack and Diane, a sexy story of two lesbians who meet and spend a night together in New York City. The project, which was set to be directed by Bradley Rust Gray and feature animations form The Brothers Quay, is currently delayed. Page was rumored to be playing Diane, one of the young lesbians, alongside Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby.

So as you can see, there is plenty on the horizon for Ellen Page. As for Sam Raimi’s return to the horror genre after two and a half Spider-Man (as in, his half-assed attempt on Spider-Man 3), the status of the production is unknown. In a statement, Ghost House and Mandate Pictures said that “like so many other productions trying to start before the potential SAG strike date, this one needed more time and we had to push back the start of production.”


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