|Behind the Scenes|
|“||Why is it so important to dream?||”|
Ariadne is a graduate student at the Ecole D'Architecture in Paris. She was contacted by Dom Cobb for a specific job: to design three complete dream layer mazes on the Fischer inception job. Although the job was dangerous, Ariadne was propelled by her intellectual curiosity which made her unable to pull herself away from such a unique opportunity. Her Totem is a slightly hollowed out bishop chess piece. She is portrayed by Ellen Page.
Ariadne is Hired
While attending school in Paris, Ariadne is approached by Dom Cobb for a job offer, after being recommended to him by Miles, her professor. Initially, Dom refuses to tell Ariadne what the job entails, explaining that it would not be entirely legal and that therefore he needs to test her abilities to ensure that she is capable of performing the task. He asks Ariadne to design a maze that takes two minutes to draw and one minute to solve. Her first two attempts fail, but the third impresses Dom, and he decides to hire her.
Entering the Dreams
After stopping by Dom's workshop, Dom and Ariadne discuss dreams at a Paris café. Dom states that when a person dreams, they can never remember the beginning of the dream. He then asks Ariadne how the two of them got to the café. Unable to remember, Ariadne realizes that they are in fact sharing a dream. Things in the dream begin to explode, perhaps because of Ariadne's panic at realizing she is in a dream, and she is killed by falling debris. The two wake back up in the workshop. Arthur, Dom's accomplice, informs Ariadne that she and Dom were dreaming for only five minutes, despite the fact that she and Dom had been at the café for what seemed like an hour. He explains that five minutes in reality equals an hour in the dreams, as brain activity increases rapidly when dreaming.Dom and Ariadne re-enter the dreams, where Dom teaches her the basics of shared dreaming (ie. projections, dream-manipulation, and the concept of Extraction). After completing some basic dream-manipulation, Ariadne is killed in-dream by Dom's subconscious projection of his late wife, Mal Cobb (daughter of professor Stephen Miles), and wakes up back at the workshop. Arthur then guides Ariadne through the rest of her introduction to dreams, such as teaching her to incorporate architectural paradoxes into the layout of dreams. Arthur also encourages her to make her own Totem, an object in the real world that appears in the dreams, and used to determine whether or not the user is dreaming. She chooses a bishop chess piece, and hollows it out partially to create a specific imbalance that only she knows.
Once Dom finishes assembling his team for the job, the planning stage begins. The job is to Incept an idea into the mind of Robert Fischer, the son of Fischer Morrow CEO Maurice Fischer. The idea is that Robert Fischer should break up his father's company upon the death of the latter, but as Inception is extremely difficult to successfully achieve, multiple layers of dreaming are required. Ariadne is tasked by Dom with being the team Architect: the designer of each dream layer, and the one who creates the maze-like dream layout (the purpose of which is to increase the team's chances of successfully evading the Subject's projections).
Ariadne, well aware of the threat that Dom's projection of Mal poses to the team, realizes why Dom refuses to design the dreams himself: the more he knows about the layout of the dream, the higher the possibility of Mal appearing and interfering with the mission. Witnessing Dom dreaming by himself at the workshop, Ariadne, curious about what Dom dreams about and wanting to discover the reason behind the existence of the Mal projection, joins his dream. She discovers that within Dom's dreams, he relives memories from when Mal was still alive, and that Dom's intense feelings of guilt for her death is the reason that the Mal projection appears. Ariadne insists to Dom that either he should tell Arthur about the danger the Mal projection poses to the mission, or that she should accompany them into the dreams to protect the team from Cobb's subconscious projections of Mal. Reluctant to let the others know the extent of his problem, Dom tells Saito to get another seat on the plane for them. In the real world, the mission takes place on the plane.
The Fischer Inception
As planned in the Paris workshop, Ariadne was to play a small part in the actual mission, as she was not initially meant to be joining the team in the dreams. In Level 1 of the heist on Robert Fischer's mind, Ariadne was with Dom in a car separate from the one that Robert was to be abducted in. The plan goes smoothly until a freight train smashes through the streets of the city-like dream (the barreling freight train is a manifestation of Cobb's projection of Mal). The team is then attacked by Fischer's projections, who had been militarized as a result of anti-Extraction training he had undertaken (a detail that didn't show up in Arthur's background check on Fischer that he was responsible for). Saito receives a gunshot wound in the team's attempt to escape from the projections. After eventually evading the projections and meeting up at a warehouse, it is revealed that due to the extremely complex nature of the dream, Saito would slip into Limbo if he died in-dream instead of waking up. Realizing the need to speed up the progress of the mission in order to save Saito, the team immediately got underway with the next stage of the plan.
In Level 2 of the heist, Arthur and Ariadne observe Dom's use of the Mr. Charles tactic (used to turn Robert against his own projections and make him aware that he is dreaming) and Arthur has Ariadne kiss him, supposedly as a method to avoid being attacked by the projections. The team meet up at a hotel room in the dream, and fool Robert into thinking that they will be entering Browning's (Robert's godfather's) mind.
The final stage of the heist in Level 3 begins, and Ariadne stays with Dom. Problems arise, however, when the "Van breaking through the barrier of the bridge" kick (that's supposed to penetrate three layers down in conjunction with the other planned kicks in each layer) from Level 1 begins earlier than expected. As a result, the team has to speed up the mission. Dom insists that Ariadne tell him any shortcut features that Eames added to the maze. She explains that he added an air duct system that doesn't follow the maze. Cobb has Ariadne explain this to Saito so that Saito and Fischer can speed up the mission. But it's too late. The "Van breaking through the barrier of the bridge" kick happens, and this kick penetrates down to the Snow Fortress causing an avalanche. So the team misses that penetrating kick. But, fortunately, there is a second penetrating kick that they can still ride in conjunction with a kick from within in each layer. This second penetrating kick is the "Van hitting the water" kick. As a result of Ariadne telling Cobb about the shortcut, Cobb's projection of Mal enters the upper tower of the Snow Fortress hospital. Dom hesitates with shooting his projection of Mal. Consequently, Mal shoots Fischer right outside the strongroom. Ariadne convinces Cobb to enter Limbo in an effort to save Fischer and complete the inception job. In Limbo, Ariadne and Dom encounter the Mal projection again. Dom, after revealing that he performed inception on his wife, planting the idea that "this world isn't real" in her mind, is stabbed by the Mal projection. Ariadne shoots the projection. Ariadne recognizes the lightning bolts in the Limbo sky are caused by the defibrillator shocks that Eames is administering to Fischer's dream self body in the Snow Fortress layer. She improvises a kick for Fischer and kicks him off the ledge of the penthouse. This kick in conjunction with the defibrillator kick is what brings Fischer back to the Snow Fortress layer (two simulataneous kicks are needed when using a sedative). Eames then tells Fischer to get in the strongroom. Fischer goes in, projects his father's death bed, and the moment of inception takes place when Fischer opens the safe and finds the Will and childhood pinwheel. Back in Limbo, Cobb notices the violent Limbo storm which is caused by the penetrating "Van hitting the water" kick. He says: "That's the kick Ariadne. You have to go." Ariadne improvises a kick for herself, jumping off the ledge of the penthouse. She rides this kick in conjunction with the penetrating "Van hitting the water" kick to get back to the Snow Fortress layer. She then continues to ride the "Van hitting the water" kick in conjunction with the "Snow Fortress explosion collapse". And this gets her back to the Hotel dream layer. She then continues to ride the "Van hitting the water" kick in conjunction with the "rocketing elevator shaft explosion" kick. And this brings her back to the City dream layer one. The others ride the kicks in the same way. The team then has to wait it out close to one week in dream layer one, until the countdown timers expire on the PASIV dream machine on the plane. After close to a week passes by in dream layer one, the team (minus Cobb and Saito) automatically wake up back on the plane in reality, the mission a complete success.
Personality and traits
Ariadne is a naturally curious and creative person. After Dom first showed her the dreams, she refused to work with him and left. She returned soon after, however, as dreams allowed her to satisfy her curiosity and create things that would be impossible in reality. She entered Dom's dreams to discover why the Mal projection appears, and voiced concern about the possibilities of mission success and the safety of the team after she realized the extent of the problem. Despite the dangers involved, Ariadne tried to help Dom and the team by going with them during the inception mission. In addition to being intelligent and creative, she is also very perceptive, especially regarding Cobb's personal issues. When she notices these things about Cobb, she immedieately takes it upon herself to psychologically analyize him and point out his faults.
A college student studying architecture, Ariadne immediately displayed a natural ability to think outside the box and broaden her mind enough to facilitate what Dom asked her to accomplish. She designed three dream layers for the Robert Fischer inception job, and incorporated paradoxical architecture and maze-like layouts into the dreams.
- (After Dom warns her that she will lose track of reality if she builds dreams from memory.) "Is that what happened to you?"
- Ariadne: "What's happening?"
Arthur: "Cobb's drawing Fischer's attention to the strangeness of the dream, which is making the subconscious look for the dreamer. For me. Quick, give me a kiss."
[She kisses him and then looks around]
Ariadne: "They're still looking at us."
Arthur: "Yeah, it was worth a shot."
- [Ariadne clears throat]
Arthur: "Cobb said you'd be back."
Ariadne: "I tried not to come, but..."
Arthur: "But there's nothing quite like it."
Ariadne: "It's just... pure creation."
- "Do you think you can just build a prison of memories to lock her in? Do you really think that's going to contain her?"
- "Cobb, I'm coming with you. The team needs someone who understands what you're struggling with. And it doesn't have to be me, but then you have to show Arthur what I just saw."
- "The truth that at any minute, you might bring a freight train through the wall. The truth that Mal is bursting through your subconscious. And the truth that as we go deeper into Fischer, we're also going deeper into you. And I'm not sure we're going to like what we find."
- "Your guilt defines her. It's what powers her. But you are not responsible for the idea that destroyed her. And if we are going to succeed in this, you have to forgive yourself and you're going to have to confront her. But you don't have to do that alone."
- Ariadne's name comes from the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. In the myth, Ariadne assisted the hero, Theseus, in the labyrinth of the Minotaur by using a ball of red thread to lead them out. The movie's version of Ariadne accompanies Cobb through the labyrinth of his own subconscious and gives him the means to deal with the monster he's imprisoned there. That along with the fact that she wears red for the majority of the movie proves her name to be quite apt.
- Before Ellen Page accepted, Nolan considered casting Emily Blunt, Rachel McAdams, Emma Roberts,Taylor Swift, Jessy Schram and Carey Mulligan .
- She was known as The Architect in some promotional material.