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“Another Earth” star and co-writer Brit Marling talks how life has changed since Sundance

“Another Earth” star and co-writer Brit Marling talks how life has changed since Sundance (photo)

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Seemingly overnight at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Brit Marling went from relatively unknown documentary writer to the newest critically acclaimed indie darling. Marling both starred in and co-wrote two of the most well-received films at Sundance: “Sound of my Voice” and “Another Earth,” which won the Special Jury Prize. The latter went on to have a limited theatrical run in July and debuted on DVD this week.

In the 10 months that have passed since Sundance, life has changed pretty significantly for Marling. She has reteamed with her “Sound of my Voice” director and fellow Georgetown University alum Zal Batmanglij for the upcoming film “The East,” which Marling again co-wrote and stars in. In addition, she has been brought on board her biggest production to date in Robert Redford’s thriller “The Company You Keep,” due out in 2012. All while still continuing to work and develop new projects, of course.

IFC had the chance to catch up with Marling on the phone over the Thanksgiving weekend to talk about how life has changed for her since she became an overnight sensation. Turns out, it hasn’t changed too much.


IFC: It’s been four months since we last spoke to you. How has your life changed since “Another Earth” hit theaters?

Brit Marling: It’s been beautiful. It’s been really cool to see the film enter the world and just see the audience’s response to it. On a person to person level, at festivals and theaters and even just randomly, the tweets that [“Another Earth” director] Mike [Cahill] will sometimes show me about people, people from all over writing various reflections on the film and that’s really cool.

I think when you make a movie, I don’t know, you hope that it connects, that it moves people, but you certainly have no idea even when you’ve edited it, and when you watch it, you’re so close to it, it’s hard to know how an audience will respond. It’s been really beautiful to see the audience’s response to it. It’s been more than I ever would have anticipated and I think Mike would say the same. It’s been a very good time.

IFC: You kind of exploded onto the scene earlier this year with “Another Earth” and “Sound of my Voice” coming out at Sundance. How have you stayed grounded?

BM: You know, it’s an interesting question. I’ve really been working so much and I’m working on this movie Zal and I wrote called “The East,” and Mike is actually here, he’s directing some of these little vignettes in the film that he’s directing, and so all three of us are sort of reunited, working together on this project of which has been awesome.

I think, I don’t know. I think the fundamentals never change, is the problem and also a great thing, which is at the end of the day you’re still just trying to get good at telling stories. And from an acting perspective, you’re trying to get better at being a better custodian and vessel for them, and not being phony and being honest and not defaulting on cliché emotions but trying to figure out what’s true or what actually happened. That never gets any easier. I think that’s the thing I find daunting about acting is, I don’t know what it’s like with other professions, but usually I think there’s like a learning curve in which like your job becomes easier for you, and I’ve never felt that with acting.

It astounds me that every day I go to work on ‘The East’ and it’s almost like I’ve never worked before. You have no idea what will happen, what will come up. You’re really tapping all of your subconscious, and there’s something wildly liberating about it but also terrifying, and so it’s awesome that the movies have been really well received and that we’re getting a chance to make more movies but I think the challenge is always the same. Nobody gets too lost in any of their thinking about it, I think.

IFC: You mentioned how it never gets easier with acting, but do you think part of it is you keep pushing yourself with the scripts that you help write to see just what you can do?

BM: Oh my gosh, what a great thing to say. Wow. I think that’s so true. I guess I’m usually attracted to the thing that terrifies me. That’s one of the things that’s cool about writing.

I think one of the things that happens with all actors, and certainly with young actresses, is that they sort of get put in a certain place, like there’s only a certain type of story for the ingénue and usually it’s like the romantic comedy ingénue or the love interest in an action movie but she’s never the action hero.

There’s something about writing that sort of I think lets you a little bit push yourself in the direction that you’re more afraid to go and certainly in this movie, oh my gosh, it happens all over the place. I constantly feel like I’m biting off a lot more than I can possibly chew, but I love that feeling. I think that’s why I’m so attracted to this work because I always feel out of my depth. So hopefully I’ll keep putting myself there and seeing if I can attempt to rise to the occasion.

Are you interested to see what other types of projects Marling creates for herself in the future? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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