On paper "The East" sounds very similar to "Sound of My Voice." Are they companion pieces?
They're really different worlds. What's interesting is that we wrote that script two years ago, and when Occupy Wall Street happened, it was like, whoa. Suddenly there was this movement that was talking about and giving voice to things that we had been writing about.
It's about an anarchist collective and the story of a girl who's a young corporate spy, very conservative, who gets hired to go undercover and infiltrate this group. This group is terrorizing corporations and has been very successful at it.
I think that the story came out of us daydreaming on the millennial generation. What is that we're going to do? What's our legacy? We all seem to be awake and aware in a way that perhaps the baby boomers were not as forward thinking. I think the millennial generation is looking at the future and is like, what is the future of all this? How do you make sense of it? How is it sustainable? How do you live a meaningful life?
"I hate being in a theater and being made feel like I'm being spoon fed or indoctrinated."
I think the anarchist group is sort of what a possible revolutionary group can look like, and how they can go about plotting the early seeds of a rebellion.
So in that sense it's a completely different world from "Sound of Voice." But you're right that there are similar themes in terms of infiltration and collectives. I think we want to believe that there's more power in a group, and that working together is more inspiring and fulfilling. Being alone with your thoughts is kind alienating… it's a lonely business.
It sounds like you're taking sides with the anarchists.
I mean, the film doesn't take sides. That's true with "Sound of My Voice," too. I think the idea when you're making a film is to present a world, and let it give the viewer the space to take what they will from it. I hate being in a theater and being made feel like I'm being spoonfed or indoctrinated.
Are we ever going to see Brit Marling, the director?
[Laughs] No, thank God. I grew up with Mike and Zal, so I know what a director is. They are both born directors. Everything they do has their fingerprints on it. They do that so well on every level. I think directors have to be masters of every discipline that there's a department head for. It's like the biggest body of knowledge ever. I'm very happy to just deal with my micro world of pretend and make believe, and attempt to get better at that.