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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.