New Stars Shine in 'Hard Candy,' 'Silent Hill'

By Bob Tourtellotte

One is 11 years old and likes to giggle and wear pink sunglasses. The other is 19 and super serious. They would have little in common if both weren't being touted as rising Hollywood stars.

Canadian-born actresses Ellen Page, 19, and Jodelle Ferland, 11, are winning rave reviews for their new films -- "Hard Candy" for Page and "Silent Hill" for Ferland.

In "Hard Candy" which opened last week, Page plays 14-year-old Haley Stark who is preyed upon by a man before turning the tables on him.

The movie is rated "R" in the United States, meaning no one under age 17 can get in unless they are accompanied by an adult. But Page -- who was 17 when she made the movie -- thinks underage girls should see "Hard Candy" because she considers it as a tale of empowerment.

"They should sneak in, in my opinion," she told Reuters.

In the movie, Haley befriends a photographer in an Internet chat room, arranges to meet him and goes to his home. Once there, Haley tortures him the way she imagines he has hurt his victims if, in fact, he truly is the pedophile she believes he is.

"Hard Candy" has earned mostly good reviews, but the buzz around Page's performance has been glowing. "The actress will be in great demand as soon as Hollywood sees this, if she isn't already," writes Daily Variety critic Todd McCarthy.

In fact, she is. Page plays Kitty Pryde in the action-adventure flick "X-Men: The Last Stand," which opens in theaters next month.

The actress seems unfazed by the talk of rising stardom. "I just want to be as honest and as grounded as I can. I'm not going to change," she said.

From Furs to Frights

Jodelle Ferland giggled when asked why she likes acting. "I get to go lots of different places," she said, "and I get to meet lots of new people."

That bubbly personality is the opposite of her movie and TV roles, so far. Ferland has earned accolades playing endangered or ghostly young girls in films and TV miniseries like "Kingdom Hospital."

In supernatural thriller "Silent Hill," which opens on Friday, she plays a child who becomes lost in a town that exists in different time dimensions and is inhabited by ghosts. Her parents must find her before the ghouls do.

"They like to cast me for scary roles," she said. "I think it's because they want you to be scared, but also to like the little girl."

The film's director, Frenchman Christophe Gans, said when he first met Jodelle she was wearing a white fur coat and pink sunglasses and was just as giggly as she could be.

Then, Gans said, Ferland changed her voice to an evil tone and told him she had always wanted to play the devil.

"I knew that she had a wonderful schizophrenic quality, that she could play different characters in a similar way," he said. "I realized Jodelle was perfect for the part."

Ferland, like Page, has performed for years on Canadian television and won awards for her work. She began acting when she was 2 years old, and said she plans to continue.

"I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't," she said, then giggles.

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