Ellen Page skips date with "Hell"

Sun Mar 2, 2008 7:04pm EST
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Ellen Page has dodged hell.

The Oscar-nominated "Juno" actress has dropped out of "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi's horror film "Drag Me to Hell" because of a scheduling conflict and fears of an actors strike. Production was scheduled to start March 17

"We were racing to start production so that we could accommodate Ellen's schedule," the film's producers, Raimi's Ghost House Pictures and financier Mandate Pictures, said in a statement. "But 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."

The Screen Actors Guild's labor contract expires June 30, and Hollywood is anxiously trying to finish projects before then. Those that might be affected by a possible walkout are being indefinitely postponed, creating a "de facto" strike.

Pushing the start date caused a conflict with the two other projects Page has lined up: "Whip it!" a roller derby comedy being directed by Drew Barrymore, and "Peacock," a thriller starring Cillian Murphy. Part of the time crunch will be the intense physical prep that Page is planning to undergo for "Whip It!"

The rush is now on to fill Page's role in "Drag Me to Hell," that of a woman who is the unwitting recipient of a supernatural curse. Universal will distribute the project domestically.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Ellen Page, best actress Oscar nominee for 'Juno,' arrives at the 80th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>