In the beginning, there was only a name: “Inception.” It was the project Christopher Nolan had on his calendar rather than a return trip to Gotham City for “Batman 3.” Its deliberately vague description — an action flick “set within the architecture of the mind” — set the tone for pretty much the next year and a half: plot details were on lockdown, castmembers had their lips sealed, and everyone was on a frustrating quest to unlock the mysteries of Nolan’s upcoming creation.
Slowly, the layers have begun to peel away in the run-up to the film’s July 16 release. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the leader of a covert crew that is able to enter people’s dreams and steal secrets locked away inside their minds. But if you ask co-star Ellen Page, it’s best to head into the theater knowing as little as possible about the story. Page plays a member of DiCaprio’s team, alongside co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy. As MTV News’ Summer Movie Preview Week comes to a close, Page called us up to talk about why Nolan is a “rad guy,” her childhood habit of sleepwalking and how she wants people to walk into the cinema blissfully unaware about everything except that one word: “Inception.”
MTV: This film has been shrouded in mystery for so long. Are you looking forward to everyone finally seeing it for themselves so you don’t have to be so vague about everything?
Ellen Page: I can just e-mail you the script if you want …
MTV: Awesome! Do you have a pen to take it down?
Page: Yeah, I’ll do that after the interview. No, I’m excited, but I haven’t even seen it yet. I’m really excited. I hope that doesn’t sound rude, because, like, I’m in it. Visually, this film is going to be unbelievable. But on top of that, it was just such a strong script that Chris wrote. So original. Although the concept is elaborate and complex, it’s based in so much truth and so much sincerity. The actual emotional spine of the story is so touching. I think it’s going to be a very special movie. I wish people would spend less energy trying to find out what it’s about, because an experience is always way more exciting having no idea. It must have been awesome going to movies 20 years ago and having such a limited idea of what it’s about and either loving or hating it.
MTV: What were your initial conversations and audition with Chris like?
Page: I actually had a general meeting with Chris, because I’m a huge fan of his films. I didn’t know about “Inception” when I met him. I really liked him — such a down-to-earth guy, no ego at all, just a pleasant, enjoyable guy to talk to. I left the meeting just thinking Chris is this really rad guy. And then, maybe a week later, the idea of “Inception” came up and that he was thinking about me for it. Then I got to read the script in an office. I wasn’t sent a copy. The script totally blew me away. I was totally into playing the character, and he decided I was right for the part.
MTV: So during the shoot, you’re talking about dreams, acting out dreams. Did all that affect your own dreams at the end of the day?
Page: No, I wish it did, because it would make an interview more interesting. Give me a couple more months until we’re in the thick of it, and I’ll come up with something. Sometimes I have incredibly vivid dreams. I used to sleepwalk a lot. I don’t anymore, thank God. I used to have night hallucinations where I would see somebody and talk to them when I was asleep. The other night, I had a dream where the headboard above my bed had all these bird nests. I was like, “What are all these bird nests doing here?”
MTV: I have no idea what that means. It sounds weird.
Page: It was so weird.
MTV: We’ve seen some brief glimpses of the movie’s action sequences — fight scenes in rotating hallways and stuff like that. Does your character take part in the action?
Page: God, it’s so hard to know what I’m allowed to talk about. I’m definitely involved with the action, which was so enjoyable. You feel like you’re a little kid. There were times, especially at the beginning, where I felt incredibly out of place and slightly confused as to how I got cast. It was such a boys club. It was the most action I’ve ever been involved in. Chris is doing things we’ve never seen before.
MTV: Does working on a huge production like this make you more open to summer tentpole movies, or are you keen on more intimate films?
Page: I’m just open. As an actor, being able to do all sorts of different films is an incredible gift. I would, in a millisecond, work with Chris again. I found that an incredibly fulfilling experience. Despite the massiveness of this production, when you’re working with Chris, it’s an intimate experience. He’s a filmmaker because he loves film and he loves making films. And there’s no ego attached to what he does. When you feel that sincerity and passion, it’s an amazing atmosphere. Despite how visually incredible and massive this film is — similar to “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” — there’s so much honesty that makes them better than those broad summer movies that come out.
Make way for Tony Stark! Look out for Carrie Bradshaw! Here come Edward and Bella! The 2010 summer movie season has begun, and with it the return of familiar faces and the emergence of new ones. All week long during Summer Movie Preview Week, MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated films of the coming months. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at “Eclipse,” “Iron Man 2,” “Predators,” “The Other Guys,” “Beastly,” “Robin Hood” and more.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.