Ellen Page To Star As One Of English Literature's Saddest Sacks

Illustration for article titled Ellen Page To Star As One Of English Literature's Saddest Sacks

Another day, another round of casting announcements chock full of stereotypes. While older actresses like Susan Sarandon have their pick of saucy-yet-loving-powerful-woman roles, the younger actresses who have yet to convince everyone they're talented sometimes pick up a few victim roles along their march to Serious Actress territory. Maybe it's because they are still pretty "fresh faces", but these talented actresses still succumb to playing victimized lovers, even in supposedly intellectual and interesting films. In this edition of Hookers, Victims, and Doormats, Ellen Page pretends she is "plain" in Jane Eyre and Eva Mendes continues to mimic Angelina Jolie's action film career. All that and more after the jump!


Ellen Page,Jane Eyre: Page is set to play Jane Eyre in a new adaptation of the classic novel by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is a bildungsroman about an orphaned girl who works as a governess for a handsome married man with an insane wife he keeps locked away. Verdict: Just because a film is based on a classic piece of literature doesn't mean that it won't be chock full of female stereotypes (in fact, literature is usually chock full of those!) and Jane Eyre is just about the biggest lovable female victim in English literature.

Eva Mendes, Queen of the South: Mendes will star as a Mexican woman who escapes to Europe after her boyfriend is murdered and then becomes the reigning drug-smuggler in Spain. She does this all while being hellbent on avenging her murdered boyfriend. Verdict: While the avenging-murdered-lover thing sounds kind of victimy, the drug-smuggling thing sounds kind of awesome. Of course, a woman can't rise to the top unless she has some secret traumatic past haunting her waking and sleeping moments!

Kirstie Alley, Nailed: Alley will play a veterinarian who cannot remove a nail from her niece's head after an accident. Her niece, played by Jessica Biel, then travels to Washington D.C. to fight for better healthcare and falls in love with a congressman. So quirky! Verdict: Alley's role seems a bit too small to get enough attention to swing it towards any stereotypes.

Susan Sarandon, Peacock: Peacock is a psychological thriller about a town in the aftermath of a train crash. Sarandon will play the mayor's wife who also runs a woman's shelter. Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy are also set to star. Verdict: There are little details about Sarandon's character, but we imagine it would be pretty difficult to portray a woman who runs a woman's shelter negatively.

"Ellen Page Takes On Jane Eyre" [Variety]
"Queen Appoints Hartnett, Kingsley" [Variety]
"James Brolin Gets Nailed" [THR]
"Susan Sarandon, Josh Lucas Join Peacock" [THR]


A Small Turnip

I feel like I'm typing into the abyss here, late as I am to the discussion, but what the hell, eh?

My take: It is absolutely CRUCIAL to understand that Jane is a wholly unreliable narrator. Love her, hate her, but don't trust her. This is her own story that she is telling, and she has very specific reasons for wanting to portray herself to her audience as the wronged, pure, modest maiden. She's not. She's much more complicated than that.

Jane is a shameless manipulator, and you have to read between the lines to get the real story of what happened. Part of the genius of the book is that Bronte made Jane neither villain nor victim. She's a fully-realised human being. And surely, surely that is the very definition of feminist literature?

Oh and as to the likelihood of Jane leaving all her money in the carriage? Just yesterday there was a great article on the BBC about a violinist in New York who accidently left his 285 year-old, $4 million Stradivarius in the back of a taxi. And got it back. [news.bbc.co.uk] So these things do happen, even in the real world. ;)