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There was a time when the only auditions Brit Marling could get were for the archetypal blonde in ‘torture porn’ flicks – and everyone knows the blonde is the first to die.
Led by the charismatic Benji (True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård) and Izzy (Juno’s Ellen Page), the group carry out attacks on corrupt corporations.
The pranks are clever and harmless to start with but become increasingly dangerous. But I’m excited that more women seem to be writing, acting and directing.
‘It’s about modern-day rebellion and anarchy,’ says Marling. Look at what Lena Dunham and Tina Fey have done in television.
‘I’m a corporate spy who makes herself over as a hippy to infiltrate this group of anarchists living in the woods and organising culture “jams”, which are terrorist acts against corporations. It’s so exciting to see storytelling change, to see narratives from a female perspective, a groundswell of young women saying: “We’re tired of the one-dimensional girlfriend/wife/daughter characters.”’ Marling is unnecessarily self-effacing, insisting the real reason she’s a Hollywood ‘triple threat’ (actor/writer/producer) is purely logistical. They’d say: “We’ve got to get this to Kirsten Dunst.” I’d say: “I was thinking maybe I could do it?
She read economics at Georgetown University in Washington (Bill Clinton is a graduate; she met Batmanglij and Cahill there), then worked as an intern at Goldman Sachs as an analyst.
It’s a political espionage thriller grappling with the question: “How far is too far? ”’ Does she really feel like an emissary for her generation? ‘When I started, I wanted to act but couldn’t figure out a way that didn’t involve losing my morality in the process,’ she explains. There are actresses in LA who have been on TV shows since they were three. ” Of course I’d never done anything, so when they asked if they could see my work, I could only suggest a short film I made in college.We were beyond illegitimate, so we had to do it ourselves.’ ‘We’ is a revolving triumvirate comprising two close friends: Batmanglij and Mike Cahill.Scott was so impressed with Marling that his company, Scott Free, came on board to produce her new thriller, The East.Marling, 30, co-wrote it with director Zal Batmanglij and plays Sarah Moss, a spy for hire who infiltrates a group of anarchists.They take it in turns to co-write with Marling then direct the film in which she also stars.Marling’s own artistic origins resided in the local bookshop wherever she and her younger sister were living with their property developer parents. ‘The one constant was we could have anything from the local bookshop. I certainly never thought this could be a way to make a living.’ Instead, she trod a traditional path beaten by myriad smart East Coast girls.