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Brit Marling compares upcoming films “The East” and “The Company You Keep” to Occupy protests

Brit Marling compares upcoming films “The East” and “The Company You Keep” to Occupy protests (photo)

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Depending upon the outcome of the Occupy Wall Street protests occurring across the nation, we’ll likely see Hollywood’s take on the 99 percent’s uprising at some point in the near future. But while films like “The Dark Knight Rises” considered attempting to tap into the civil unrest, at least one upcoming indie has already been working on capturing the activists’ sentiments.

“Sound of my Voice” star/co-writer Brit Marling and director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij have reteamed in their respective roles for the upcoming thriller “The East.” The film tells the story of a contract worker named Sarah (Marling) who is given the job of infiltrating an anarchist group, but ends up finding herself aligning with its beliefs and falling for its leader (Alexander Skarsgard). IFC caught up with Marling recently while she was promoting the DVD release of her Sundance darling “Another Earth,” and she acknowledged that “The East’s” upcoming release likely couldn’t be at a more timely occasion.

Interestingly enough, Marling’s other upcoming film, Robert Redford‘s “The Company You Keep,” also has to deal with activist movements. In the interview, she addressed her own passion for activism and whether she thinks these two movies about such a hot-button subject will end up causing any controversy.

IFC: “The East” seems like it’s pushing the envelope with its extremism and environmental activism. Do you think that it’s particularly timely with all the other activist events going on right now, like Occupy Wall Street?

Brit Marling: Yeah, I think we were really astounded as we were writing it, things kept happening that were literally things that were in the movie or things that were themes or feelings in the movie. I remember when the BP Oil spill happened we were like, oh my gosh, this movie is so prescient. And then when WikiLeaks happened, we were like, oh my god, this movie is so prescient. And then, you know, when Occupy Wall Street happened, we were like, this film needs to just enter the world already.

I think that when you’re writing, you’re really just sticking your hand out into what people are thinking and feeling, and certainly I think generationally there’s a pretty big crisis in our generation of like, what is going on? The design of the world order makes no sense. Things keep falling apart. I mean, how long are we going to continue to ignore that the structure of things are unsound? When are we going to stand up and be accountable for the way we live our lives and like do things differently? Maybe even erratically differently. And I think Occupy Wall Street is filled with that unrest and I think, I don’t know, it will be nice for this movie to enter this conversation.

I think it’s something people want to talk about and, I don’t know, hopefully it will be a useful note in the conversation. I don’t know. We hope that anyway.

Brit Marling says Alexander Skarsgard isn’t “recognizable” in “The East”

IFC: It sounds like it’s something you’re pretty passionate about. Are you particularly attached to the idea of activism? Is that something you believe in?

BM: I guess what I believe in is, you know, life in the modern world can really lull you to sleep in a way. Things in the first world are pretty comfortable. You know, like hotel rooms and movie theaters and malls and cars on highways. The whole experience is pretty seamless, in and out of airports. But there are so many things that are just shocking and astounding that we just continue to ignore. Especially just the literal liquidation of the environment. We have oceans falling apart and reefs crumbling.

We’re alive in a really strange time in which we seem to be on the precipice of a crisis, certainly in terms of like where things are in the environment, and yet not fully dealing with it in our every day lives and the way that we live them. I don’t know what it would take for things to change dramatically, but I think certainly I believe in attempting to be awake to that and to hopefully do something. Do something in whatever way one can to like be a part of the movement for changing things or trying to make things better.

IFC: It’s interesting to me that the other film you’re working on, “The Company You Keep” with Robert Redford, also involves extremism with his character being a part of the Weather Underground. Do you think that either of these films are going to stir up any controversy once they get released?

BM: I hope they do, but even more than controversy. I think something really interesting happened when Obama was elected, which is the millennial generation felt for a moment that like real change was possible, and they like galvanized themselves in a way that had never been done before. Everybody’s pretty focused on their own career, their own life, the way in which their life is unfolding, and I dropped everything I was doing and got on plane for Ohio and was like knocking on doors in Columbus, Ohio. And I think it was because everybody felt like, well here’s a way in which things can really be different.

I think people are looking for that. I don’t know that either one of these movies will do that but certainly like Occupy Wall Street and what’s happening there and what’s happening all over the world, there are stirrings of it. You feel that the sense is in the air, and it just hasn’t fully become organized. Or the ideas behind which real change can happen [haven’t] been fully solidified. It’d be cool if both of these movies sort of got people talking about these things and not just retreating into their lives, which can be so consuming.

Are you intrigued by either of Marling’s upcoming projects because of their political statements? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.