Ellen Page has never appeared nude in a film. She did, however, appear nude in a video game.
Because of that nudity in a video game, Page explored legal action, emails from the Sony email breach show, according to the Wikileaks archive of leaked Sony emails.
The game is called “Beyond: Two Souls” and it’s exclusive to the PlayStation 3. In one scene, Page’s character takes a shower. Her character model is never shown fully nude, nor is it possible to manipulate the game’s camera to see her naked character.
Page didn’t allow the game’s developers to scan her naked body. Instead, programmers and artists at the game’s development studio, France-based Quantic Dream, created a fully rendered naked model of Page’s in-game character, Jodie.
So, the image of a naked Page exists in the game’s code, but isn’t accessible by players.
But if “Beyond: Two Souls” is run on what is known as a “debug” PlayStation 3, which is typically available only to game developers and journalists and lets you see content buried in a game’s code, players are able to see Page naked. Which is to say: Yes, of course, images of a naked Ellen Page from “Beyond: Two Souls” are very much available online. They have been available online since October 2013 when the game launched.
According to the leaked emails, Page’s legal team got in touch with Sony, and eventually Sony Computer Entertainment America, the PlayStation arm of Sony. By the time it got to SCEA, Page’s attorney was talking legal action.
Where this began
Page’s lawyer, Jeffrey Abrams, serves on the board of Bet Tzedek, a Los Angeles-based legal group, alongside general counsel of Sony Pictures Entertainment Leah Weil.
It was in the informality of a Bet Tzedek board meeting that Abrams first broached the subject of Page’s unexpected nudity in “Beyond: Two Souls,” according to the emails.
Here’s the “shower scene” from 2013’s “Beyond: Two Souls” as it appeared in the normal version game:
Page’s attorney attempted to work out a fix with the game’s developer, Quantic Dream, first, the emails say. Representatives for Quantic Dream “would not engage in mediation, and objected to arbitration,” Page’s lawyer wrote in an email to Weil in January 2014.
When that didn’t work, Abrams contacted Sony (via Weil) to warn of an impending lawsuit on behalf of Ellen Page. Here’s what Abrams wrote to Weil on January 29, 2014:
We have been engaging in discussions with Quantic Dream, which is based in France, regarding a potential mediation. Unfortunately, their attorneys at DLA Piper recently told us they would not engage in mediation, and objected to arbitration, leaving us with no choice but to file a lawsuit in Los Angeles.
Given Weil’s position as legal counsel for Sony Pictures and not the PlayStation group, SCEA, she then contacted PlayStation’s chief legal counsel, Riley Russell.
Responding on February 4, 2014, Russell told Weil he’d, “started to look into this,” but would need a few days to get all his facts together. Russell said that the game’s developer is ultimately culpable for the content of the game, not its publisher, Sony. Moreover, he said in one leaked email, “The developer has the responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t get sued.”
The issue was enough for Sony to send takedown notices to websites publishing the images of Ellen Page’s naked in-game character.
It’s unclear where the legal action went, if anywhere, after that. The email thread between Weil and Russell ends there, and we weren’t able to find any legal cases in Los Angeles pertaining to Ellen Page, her legal representation, and Sony (or Quantic Dream). Representatives for Sony Computer Entertainment, and Jeffrey Abrams, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.