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Ellen Page: The Last Of Us "ripped off my likeness"

By Rachel Weber

Ellen Page: The Last Of Us "ripped off my likeness"

Mon 24 Jun 2013 7:50am GMT / 3:50am EDT / 12:50am PDT

Inception actress displeased by her lookalike Ellie

Actress Ellen Page has used a Reddit AMA session to express her displeasure at similarities between herself and The Last Of Us heroine Ellie.

"I guess I should be flattered that they ripped off my likeness, but I am actually acting in a video game called Beyond Two Souls, so it was not appreciated," she said in post about the Naughty Dog title.

If anything Naughty Dog toned down Ellie's likeness to Page between reveal and launch, but put the change down to wanting to better reflect the actress playing Ellie, Ashley Johnson.

"After delving further into the game's narrative over the past few months, we decided to modify Ellie's model to better reflect Ashley's personality, and also resemble a slightly younger teen more fitting to the story," said creative director Neil Druckmann last May.

"We're happy with the final result shown in the cinematic we have released today, and hope the fans like her too."

Page is currently the star of Quantic Dream's latest title, Beyond: Two Souls, and spoke about the game during her AMA.

"We did do our own motion capture. The suits are not that bad is sort of nice to not sorry about wardrobe. Willem is an incredible actor and I loved working with him," she said of the project.

"I played video games more when I was a kid. I had Sega Genesis and was a HUGE Sonic fan. I also love the NHL games and played them with my brother all time. Then I was super into Playstation and loved the FIFA games. I recently played my first video game in a while. I played the latest Tomb Raider and really enjoyed it, finished in about 12 hours."


From Recommendations by Taboola


Ellen finally twigged Ellie is almost the same likeness

Posted:3 years ago


Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
Popular Comment
Guess all those comic artists who use celebs as models for their characters are in trouble then. ^__^

Posted:3 years ago

Popular Comment
When is Kurt Russell going to turf up at Konami regarding Solid Snake! I have been waiting!!

Posted:3 years ago


Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd

105 152 1.4
Popular Comment
I thought it was meant to be modelled on her

Posted:3 years ago


Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
IANAL, but my understanding is that the copying of a specific photo (or video still, etc.) would be an infringement of copyright, but it would be the copyright of the photographer that was violated, not the copyright of the subject of the photo. But this is not a case of a specific photo, so no infringement has taken place.

There is the EA NCAA football case. However, that was the likeness of people being presented as those specific people, which was judged to have gone beyond fair use.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 24th June 2013 12:48pm

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Animator

148 158 1.1
Popular Comment
Slow news day?

Posted:3 years ago


Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections

63 314 5.0
Also they used Dylan McDermott as the obvious ref for Joel, I wonder if they asked his permission?

Posted:3 years ago


Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 943 0.7
She may have been used for reference, the character design has an Ellen Paige feel to her, but doesnt really look like her. Im an illustrator and use references all the time. Ellie can really look like alot of girls out there really. I dont see why Ellen Paige is all worked up about it. Maybe it has to do with conflicting interests since she worked for another game, and she probably is making this statement so its clear that she had no part of it.

But anyway, Im gonna make a comment which is off topic. Ellen Paige sure looks pretty in the article photo. <3

Posted:3 years ago


James Prendergast Research Chemist

783 492 0.6
I have to say that there are a lot of people who look a lot alike in the world. The artists may have used Ellen as a reference, they may not - they may have even used a random girl/woman from a stock photo that happens to look similar to Ellen. Personally, I don't think they look so similar that it's a given that Insomniac copied.

Are you sure those "December" and "now" mugshots aren't mixed up? If anything she looks more similar around the mouth area in the "now", though her eyes and nose have been enlarged slightly. Either way - her jawline doesn't look anything like Ellen's and, well, hair is hair.

[edit] Not Insomniac! LOL. I meant Naughty Dog.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 24th June 2013 3:29pm

Posted:3 years ago


Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios

191 81 0.4
Different facial structure and Ellen Page doesn't have anywhere near as many freckles.

In the case of the NCAA case, an NCAA player is not allowed to accept compensation in any form for their direct or indirect involvement in the NCAA. I don't remember the specifics of the case, but I do remember thinking that was stretching the bounds of taking 'advantage of the contract law' a bit too far.

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,463 1,566 1.1
Can you really 'rip off' a person by having vague similarities?

I agree with the notion that there are many people in the world that look alike and this character is not a photographic image of Ellen Page, in fact I had no idea there was a likeness.

Posted:3 years ago


Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios

191 81 0.4
@Kevin Williams
When is Kurt Russell going to turf up at Konami regarding Solid Snake! I have been waiting!!
Kurt Russell had an entire game series revolving around a single character based off a role that skyrocketed his career. Mind you this is a franchise that still exists today and is still loved by a large number of people.

I don't know about Kurt Russell, but that's more than enough compensation for me. Even if I never saw a dime of the money, having an entire video game franchise based off a character I played in a movie is more flattering than any dollar sign. Especially when the character is as much of a pure BAMF as Snake Plissken.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
I'd say it's like using a photo of an actor in a film and not getting the rights to do so (or yup, paying them for their likeness). An example would be Michael Biehn and his agent telling Fox they couldn't use his likeness in Alien 3 after hearing his character was killed off and the effects team had constructed a very realistic model of the character as a corpse.

Of course, the negotiations concluded with him getting paid for a quick shot of his digitized face on a monitor and his dead corpse model changed to one with a smashed in face that was unrecognizable.

So, I'd gather Page wants some sort of compensation or at least, an acknowledgment that yup, it's her face in those early builds.

Off topic - This made me laugh because I can recall a bunch of game cover art from the 90's that used adult film stars as reference and I'm sure they didn't get a dime.

Posted:3 years ago


Robert Nzengou-Tayo Independent.

13 77 5.9
Popular Comment
Well, she's not asking for compensation. She's not asking them to do anything to change it either. They used her likeness without permission, to model a main character, in a game that made a buttload of cash. On top of that, her likeness is being officially used in another game which will therefore be inevitably compared to The Last of Us, whether or not there is any reason to do so.

C'mon, that's taking the mickey. She's understandably annoyed.

Posted:3 years ago


Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises

515 354 0.7
Well Ellen's white, and Ellie's white... So I guess they copied her likeness?

The important thing is that I finish Skyrim soon, so I can play The Last of Us.

Posted:3 years ago


Nelsun Rivera Mixed Media

32 29 0.9
The actress portraying Ellie is Ashley Johnson. She has a similar look to Ellen Page. They may have avoided some confusion if they did not name the character Ellie. They may have purposely hired her because she was a ringer for Ellen but otherwise she is an entirely different person.

Posted:3 years ago


Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital

59 53 0.9
The first time I saw the character I instantly thought "Hey someone photo-referenced Juno for their character".

Posted:3 years ago


Donald Dalley Freelance writer

58 45 0.8
While Ellie does look closer to Ellen Page, they have a looong way to go before she will ever resemble Ashley Johnson.

Posted:3 years ago


Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

1,219 2,667 2.2
@kevin: Snake Plisken? I thought he was dead...

Posted:3 years ago


James Prendergast Research Chemist

783 492 0.6
@ Robert Nzengou-Tayo - what evidence do you have that they stole her likeness? Really?

There is a limited set of genes in the human pool... lots of us look quite a like - especially from certain angles. In fact, just to point out one (though I have no picture here) I look like a less Spanish/hispanic version of Rick Lopez. For her to call it out, when she has no proof is just conceited in my opinion. If Naughty Dog had come out and said we modelled Ellie on Ellen Page, then yeah - she has a case to be annoyed... but, honestly, Ellie looks like a generic "apple-faced teenage girl".

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 24th June 2013 6:31pm

Posted:3 years ago

Brain: Swear to God Snake, I thought you were dead...

Snake Plissken: Yeah, you and everybody else!

Posted:3 years ago


Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

490 302 0.6
Given that games are set to become even more visually accurate to reality. This issue is not set to just go away as a lot of people here seem to be thinking. Judging by the reactions of "There's no issue with using her as reference material" nonsense.

Let me spell it out to you. An actor or actress make their living on their looks. A court of law will not take to kindly to those looks being used without permission or compensation in a commercial venture.

So please feel free to go into denial mode but, the reality is and will be that somewhere along the line money will need to change hands.

Posted:3 years ago


Ruben Monteiro Engineer

126 288 2.3
Eerie, I just noticed this today and I thought the model was officially based on her.
What amuses me is the number of PS3 fanboys over at Yahoo claiming the model looks totally different from her.

Posted:3 years ago


Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

119 127 1.1
Aside: When games truly started getting character realistic and cinematic, and popular voice actors started to emerge who were becoming known as "lead VA's" such as Nolan North, Troy Baker, Mark Hamil, etc etc - It occurred to me that video games could start to go the way of movies where there would be star video game actors - possibly even star "Character Models" (although thats probably pushing it a little too science fiction) - but with motion capture and photo realism, and more game characters being literally based off of real life- as Peter said, this issue isn't going to just go away.

I couldn't shake the feeling it was Ellen Page the entire time I was playing. Having gotten the game not really (purposely) reading much about it, I mistakenly believed it was modeled off of Ellen, and not being super familiar with Ellen Paige - I assumed she was the voice actress as well until I finished the game and did more research. And as the saying goes, if I'm thinking this - then it's pretty safe to assume there are a lot of other gamers out there making the same mistake. I can understand her beef with Naughty Dog, and I think they should have taken some further steps to obfuscate the reference they were using- especially considering Beyond Two Souls coming out.

Posted:3 years ago


James Prendergast Research Chemist

783 492 0.6
@ Eric Leisy: As a counter point - how many times have you watched a film and thought an actor was someone other than they actually were? It was also probably someone more famous.

Peter Dwyer - First off, actors do not only make their living off their looks - otherwise many of the "great" actors would be terrible at enunciation, delivery and, well, acting.

Secondly, where is it said that Page was used as reference? Some people are actually very close to libel with these sorts of baseless remarks. If Page has proof then she should ask them either for a) compensation or b) to remove the current Ellie model from the game. Just to head it off - proof isn't looking at the face of the model and saying they look similar. You do a search for "teenage girl" and see how many random people you pick out that are similar. Since they didn't even have a VA who sounded similar to Page she has even less of a platform to stand on.

Remember when the guy from Back to the Future sued the film's creators because they used someone who looked similar to him when he refused to play the part in the next two films due to him wanting a huge raise? He won... but how is that right? The other guy who looked like him had the rights to his own looks too...

I saw a great comment over on Ars that I thought was relevant here:

It's doubtful that any parties actually involved actually care. This is simply a way to bring attention to Ellen Page, Ashley Johnson, Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream simultaneously. As they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

I think people are getting way to hett-up by these comments and are running to defend... something, I don't know what exactly but something.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 25th June 2013 6:52am

Posted:3 years ago


Pier Castonguay Programmer

189 108 0.6
@Rick Lopez saying "I dont see why Ellen Paige is all worked up about it."

Creating a whole article with this title based on a simple comment leads to confusions like this. Ellen is probably not that workup up about it. It was the 7th most upvoted comment (because Reddit currently circlejerk about TLOU), so she had no choice but to reply something.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pier Castonguay on 25th June 2013 6:59am

Posted:3 years ago


Makeda De'Jene Creative Director & Founder, Zombie Gamer Online

15 26 1.7
I feel like I am the ONLY person that doesn't see the resemblance. Yikes.

Posted:3 years ago


Makeda De'Jene Creative Director & Founder, Zombie Gamer Online

15 26 1.7
THANK YOU. Totally different facial structure. The only SLIGHT resemblance is the eyebrows. Ellie looks like alot of girls out in NY, so I'm surprised at how arrogant shes's acting ....

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Makeda De'Jene on 25th June 2013 4:27pm

Posted:3 years ago


Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst

90 68 0.8
Given that the character isn't based from scans and isn't purporting to be Ms Page, this is somewhat of a non-issue. Cheap way of advertising her new project, I guess.

Posted:3 years ago


Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,199 2,048 1.7
This whole situation can be easily remedied with an update that makes Ellen, Ellie's character into an african american. Then we can say she looks like Will Smith and that the game was modeled after I Am Legend. Problem, kind of.

Posted:3 years ago


Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,166 1,297 1.1
Almost every artist find inspiration in real life persons as a basis or as a starting point. I do it frequently and I'm just an amateur writer...

Posted:3 years ago


West Clendinning Senior/Lead Artist, Rovio Entertainment

21 4 0.2
I always thought Ellen Page ripped off Linda Cardellini's look, from Freaks and Geeks.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
Interesting article about the koo-koo copyright laws here in the US:

Posted:3 years ago


Tony Barnes Creative Director & Founder, Twitchfactor LLC

4 4 1.0
Well, you may think it's a "slow news day" or a "non-story", but you clearly don't have a grasp on the big picture.

As game's fidelity gets greater and greater and AAA keeps chasing after "realism", this is going to come up, more and more. It's one thing you look at a bunch of photos and then cobble together some sort of likeness in 2500, 5000 or so polygons. It's another thing to emulate someone's aesthetic convincingly and have them "acting" in a piece of media they did not do. Especially, when you are an actress and a large part of your appeal is your aesthetic.

Posted:3 years ago


Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

386 316 0.8
Wheres my justice? Valve have clearly ripped my likeness off for Gordon Freeman. Im coming after you valve!!!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Aleksi Ranta on 7th July 2013 8:37pm

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation

148 144 1.0
Am I the only one who didn't spot the likeness between Ellen and Ellie?

In all honesty, whenever I saw trailers and gameplay of Last of Us, I never once thought "Oh look Ellen Paige is in two games now!"...I just thought "Damn...why isn't this game on PC?"

Posted:3 years ago


Michael Larson Graphics Programmer/ Engine Programmer

18 11 0.6
I can't count the number of women I have met in my life that could be Ellen... its not like she is unique. Lets see... short brunette with puffy lips and blue eyes. Ask any bouncer at a 20's something bar how many girls each night meet 90% of the facial features and I am sure it would suffice to say she's not unique.

Posted:3 years ago


Jamie Knight International Editor in Chief, Playnation

71 34 0.5
ah, WGAF? its three for one on custard donuts at Bristol Tesco Express

Posted:3 years ago


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