Ellen Page Describes Video Game Work as a 'Crazy Acting Bootcamp'
Ellen Page, best known for playing the awkward pregnant teen in Juno and the roller derby outsider in Whip It, will take on a completely new world with her next project: a video game.
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But it’s not just any video game. Beyond: Two Souls pushes games to the next level by using advanced photo-realistic facial animation – developed by Quantic Dream – that makes Page’s character look exactly like the living, breathing version of the actress.
In the plot-driven, emotional horror game, Page plays Jodie Holmes, a young girl with a creepy imaginary friend. The game footage that has already been released is so lifelike and so close to Page’s actual features that it warrants a double-take from first-time viewers.
Working on Beyond: Two Souls, which will be available on Playstation 3 next year, was a far cry from working on a Hollywood film set. With a script of about 2,000 pages, the project is what Page calls similar to a working in a “crazy acting bootcamp.”
The process for Page wasn’t just about throwing on a motion capture suit and reciting a few lines. The actress would have her face covered with 88 performance-capture dots, would wear a suit formed for her body and would perform in an orange box.
STORY: E3 2012: Ellen Page Goes Virtual in PlayStation 3 Game 'Beyond: Two Souls'
“You’re not working on sets or going to a location,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that she was surrounded by 70 cameras while in the orange rectangle, so she didn’t have to cater to just one camera as she would on a film set.
“It’s like being six years old. You have to imagine everything. You have to completely let yourself go,” she adds. Page also says that the work on Beyond: Two Souls helped her on the film project she started right after.
Writer/director David Cage says that having Page as part of the game was not a “marketing thing.”
“It’s not really about having Ellen’s name on the packshot,” he says. “It’s about really working together and creating something unique together and bringing Ellen’s talent to this medium.”
Cage has said that he actually wrote the part with Page in mind, although at that time he never expected to have her actually work on the game.
“It’s really about cloning in a certain way, but most of all recreating the emotion that the actor gave onstage, in 3D in the game,” he tells THR.
Page says she held out “for as long as possible” before seeing her likeness in the game. While she still isn’t done working on the game, she did take a tour on the last day she worked on it to meet the hundreds of people who helped create her likeness. It was then she finally saw her game character.
“I was completely blown away. I think I was scared to see it because how am I going to act when I see myself animated?” she says. “I was so moved. I could not believe what I was looking at.”
Watch a behind-the-scenes featurette of Page's work on Beyond: Two Souls below.
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford