Collaboration a beast for 'East'
Brit Marling has a thing for creative collectives.
The actress’ latest collaboration with director Zal Batmanglij, the thriller, “The East,” reunites the pair after their Sundance hit, “Sound of My Voice,” and their unique partnership hasn’t lost its momentum as they make the jump to studio films.
Marling pulls double duty on Batmanglij’s latest feature, cowriting the script with the director (as she did with “Sound of My Voice”) while also starring as an undercover corporate operative tasked with infiltrating an eco-terrorist group led by Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page.
The group at the center of the film, eponymously called The East, doesn’t exactly set up an easy way of life for Marling’s interloper, but she recognizes just how and why her character Sarah slips in so easily, wisely noting that “anything, once you’re living in a collective, can become sort of the new norm.”
So what is it about collectives that draws in Sarah, not to mention the film’s rapt audience?
“Collectives or fringe groups … are often thinking and doing really interesting things that eventually the mainstream comes to adopt,” Marling says.
“The East” is no exception, and the collection of talent mirrors what’s going on behind the camera.
“The truth of most art forms and artists is that it’s usually about collaborations,” Marling says. “It’s about what groups of people can create, and certainly in filmmaking, which is the most collaborative art form.”
So would Marling want to take a stab at collaborating as a director? The actress let out a slow “no.”
“Directors are incredible,” she says. “They have to be able to problem solve under such duress, and they have to maintain a vision and convince other people to join them in that vision. And that’s really hard to do.”