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Ellen Page explains sympathy for zombies in new movie "The Cured"

Ellen Page stars in "The Cured."

IFC Films

The new film "The Cured" puts a fresh twist on the zombie genre. In the movie, which is set near Dublin, former zombie-like patients are cured and reintegrated into society. However, they and the people around them remember the atrocities they committed, and the cured population has a rough time coming home -- most are not welcomed at all. 

Ellen Page plays Abbie, a young mother who lost her husband to an attack. She takes in her husband's brother, Sennan, who is a cured patient, and struggles to come to terms with her husband's death as a faction of the cured rises up to lash out at a society that won't accept them. Page talked to CBS News about why she was drawn to the project and what she's taken away from it. 

Q: How did you get connected with this project?

A: I read the script and was so compelled and moved and thought it was such an interesting idea. Then I watched [director and screenwriter David Freyne's] short films, which were awesome, and got really excited to be a part of it.

Q: Were you excited to take part a zombie movie? What are your favorites?

A: Yeah, because it's something I hadn't done before and I remember going to see "28 Days Later" in high school and I loved that film, so it felt like a fun, new, interesting challenge. And the core of it felt -- there'd be some days where we were shooting a small Irish family drama, then the next day was very different.

Q: Between those very different types of challenges, what tensions did you find interesting in the script?

A: Well, in terms of even playing Abbie, I was interested in trying to be mindful about what she's gone through and the grief she's experiencing and how she's had to sweep so much aside to take care of her son, and so from a strict character standpoint, I thought it would be amazing and challenging to play her. And in terms of the script, I think a film like this -- incorporating the danger of people's fear and anger and how that can be manipulated and exploited to gain power or what have you -- I think that whole element of the film was fascinating to me.

Q: Do you think you could be as generous as Abbie if you were in the same situation?

A: I mean, I certainly would like to think so. I think I'm very certain, but it's easy to say when you haven't just survived a zombie apocalypse.

Q: Ultimately, are we supposed to sympathize with the cured? Not to give anything away, but it isn't easy to really be on either side.

A: No, it's not easy, which I think is a big part of what the film is about -- the moral and ethical compromises people are willing to make in these situations. But yeah, I think there should be sympathy, yeah.

Q: You've been in a lot of supernatural movies. What draws you to them?

A: I think any genre of movies, it's the script and the characters. I don't think I'm necessarily thinking about the genre so much when I'm reading it and I think that's what makes a movie like "The Cured" special, where the core of it is actually there's so much depth to these characters and their relationship and I think that being sort of the basis and all these aspects surrounding it is what makes it work for me and as an actor.

Q: Was it challenging to switch your mindset between the zombie movie scenes and family drama scenes?

A: I think because the way David made this and the tone of it and how the two stories intersect -- I don't know if they ever felt so separate. I think the challenge of a lot of the quieter, more emotionally intense scenes has its own unique aspects and then playing ultimate fear for your life is challenging in terms of how do you get there, mentally and physically, and I think you don't necessarily feel that separation.

Q: You talked about how you "get there." What brings you there?

A: I think the fear of being chased is so terrifying to me … I think I'm a decently fast runner but I think there are a lot of fast runners out there.

Q: How did you tap into playing a mother?

A: Well, Abbie's situation -- she's lost her husband, survived an extremely traumatic ordeal and living outside of Dublin taking care of her son till they can go home again -- she didn't really get an opportunity to necessarily begin with her grief because of the sole focus on her son and creating a sense of normalcy and giving him a life again. I think that's where my focus was and her care for him, above all. And I took Oscar [Nolan, who plays Abbie's son Cillian] before we went shooting and we played video games and soccer and I feel like that's how we bonded. He thought I was sort of cool, so that really helped a lot. 

"The Cured" is in theaters and available on VOD.

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com