'Angels' actress to direct roller derby film

Ellen Page will follow up her star-making turn in “Juno” by starring in Mandate Pictures’ “Whip It!” which marks Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut.

Story follows the exploits of alterna-teen Bliss, who lives in a small Texas town, where she is always being pushed into beauty pageants. But she winds up finding herself after joining a female roller derby team.

Derby star Shauna Cross, known on the circuit as Maggie Mayhem, penned the screenplay.

Project, which had originally been set up at Warner Bros. via Barrymore’s Flower Films banner, reteams Page with Mandate, the company behind box office- and awards-season hit “Juno.”

“I really admire how Drew constantly challenges herself as an artist,” Page said. “She’s proven herself as an actress and a producer, and I have no doubt she’ll bring great vision and creativity to the director’s chair. I can’t wait to kick ass on wheels!”

Barry Mendel (“Rushmore”) is producing. Peter Douglas, Nancy Juvonen, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Nathan Kahane are executive producing.

The $10 million film is slated to begin shooting in the summer in Texas. Page is likely to schedule another project before segueing to “Whip It!”

Barrymore has been flirting with the project as her first helming effort for some time. But “Whip It!” began to coalesce at Mandate after Page expressed interest in the script.

“I’ve been working toward the goal of directing my entire life,” Barrymore said. ” ‘Whip It!’ is a story that really spoke to me.”

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