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Brit Marling Talks 'The East,' 'Sound of My Voice' and Delivering on the Hype

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire May 2, 2012 at 12:25PM

The last time Indiewire caught up with writer/actress Brit Marling was at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where the Georgetown Economics grad made quite the first impression by wowing critics and audiences with two breakthrough turns in "Another Earth" and "Sound of My Voice" (both of which she also co-wrote).
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Brit Marling at a special screening of "Sound of My Voice" hosted by Gucci
Dave Allocca/Starpix Brit Marling at a special screening of "Sound of My Voice" hosted by Gucci

The last time Indiewire caught up with writer/actress Brit Marling was at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where the Georgetown Economics grad made quite the first impression by wowing critics and audiences with two breakthrough turns in "Another Earth" and "Sound of My Voice" (both of which she also co-wrote).

Since leaving Park City, she's gone on to deliver on the hype by returning to Sundance with "Arbitrage" starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon; working for Robert Redford on his upcoming ensemble thriller "The Company You Keep," alongside a massive ensemble that includes Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Shia LaBeouf and Anna Kendrick; and wrapping principal photography on "The East," which sees her reuniting with her "Sound of My Voice" director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij, for an indie thriller that bears a striking resemblance to their first collaborative effort (in "Sound of My Voice" a young couple infiltrate a cult to make a documentary; in "The East," Marling stars as a contract worker tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group, only to find herself falling for its leader).

With "Sound of My Voice" currently in theaters, Indiewire caught up with Marling to discuss her career post-breakthrough, and what to expect from "The East."

How is "The East" coming along?

We're in the thick of editing, which is an awesome place to be because the movie can become anything. I always feel like the editing room is like coming into the kitchen. What kind of a meal do you make from there? It can be anything.

What's next for you?

I've been reading a lot of things. I haven't quite decided yet what I'm going to do. There are things Zal and I want to write together. And Mike [Cahill, writer/director of "Another Earth"] has another movie coming up that he wrote that I'm going to act in.

I keep trying to figure out what stories it seems would be useful and interesting. I'd keep working with Zal and Mike indefinitely if I'm so lucky.

Sound Of My Voice
I saw "Sound of My Voice" at Sundance over a year ago. What's it like to be doing press for this film, so long after the fact?

I really think that for some reason the film's become more prescient. Maybe it's the election or post-Occupy Wall Street movement. I think there is a general unrest or curiosity about what a human future is going to be like, and whether the way we're living is even sustainable. Maggie is talking about a future that is post some kind of unravelling of the civilized world as we know it. The story taps into unsettling things that people are thinking or feeling in a very cool way. I think it's really playing as a sort of metaphysical thriller.

I think it's a nice happenstance. It's maturing well [laughs].

We last spoke back at your first Park City experience, when you being touted as the breakthrough of the event. You've lived up to a lot of the hype. What's this whole journey been like of you?

I didn't expect any of this, I really didn't. It's so hard to properly articulate the way these films were made, which was in a total vacuum in Silver Lake.

I mean "Sound of My Voice" was shot with a camera you often see with tourists. We shot the scenes on the plane on an actual plane! We bought a round-trip ticket from LAX for San Francisco. We're shooting on the plane the entire time. At some point the flight attendant stopped and was like, "What are you doing?" And Zal was like, "Oh, we're just taking pictures on the tail end of our trip." And the flight attendant was like, "That's so sweet. Why don't you go in and I'll take one of the three of y'all." And she just takes a photo and they keep go about filming.

The fact that technology has reached a place where you can be that small, that ninja and infiltrate spaces. You're getting production value in that moment that a movie with $100 million wishes they could have.

When we were doing these, because of their smallness, we never thought they'd enter the world in this way. That has been astounding. And then the response, to have people connect to it, has been overwhelming. The idea that we can continue going about this, and make a living doing this work that we love is really amazing. It still sort of blows that mind.

This article is related to: Interviews, Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice, Another Earth






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