Brit Marling

Last week, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival announced their first wave of programming, featuring twenty-six titles that will be screening in competition. They followed that with the announcement of their Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers films. It was two days of absolute madness and glee, and the festival sagely waited a few days, giving us the buffer of a weekend to catch our collective breath, before breaking out the big guns. The Premiere and Documentary Premieres. That’s a bit clunky – so the Premieres! The Premieres are here! Per usual, here’s a list of films that immediately jump out at me: Julie Delpy’s follow-up to 2 Days in Paris, the Delpy and Chris Rock-starring 2 Days in New York, Nicholas Jarecki’s Abritrage (which stars one of last year’s break-out stars, Brit Marling, in her fist big-time feature role), Lee Toland Krieger’s Celeste and Jesse Forever (which stars co-writer Rashida Jones), Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite, Josh Radnor’s second film Liberal Arts (also starring one of last year’s big stars, Elizabeth Olsen), Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, and Amy Berg’s West of Memphis. Check out the full list of Sundance Film Festival Premiere picks after the break.

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The casting news for Zal Batmanglij’s next film with co-writer and leading lady, Brit Marling, continues to be my latest obsession. We know that the pair’s film The East will focus on an eco-terrorism group that is infiltrated by a hired agent, and that plotline, paired with Batmanglij and Marling’s apparent interest in fringe groups and their draw (look no further than their Sundance hit Sound of My Voice for proof of this), is enough to get me outrageously excited for the indie thriller. But as the film rounds out its casting, my excitement level is verging on simply unmanageable. Marling is already in to star as the undercover agent, dispatched by a private security firm that works to protect large corporations from eco-terrorist groups like the titular the East. Marling will get more involved than she anticipated, however, as her character will end up falling for the leader of the group, to be played by Alexander Skarsgard. Ellen Page is also on tap to play a member of The East, one who also has a romantic past with Skarsgard. The production has now added Patricia Clarkson in the role of Marling’s corporate boss, along with Brit Toby Kebbell, who is in negotiations for a role as “a doctor who was treated with a tainted drug that caused him to have Parkinson’s-like symptoms.”

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Ellen Page is reportedly in “final talks” for a role in Zal Batmanglij’s The East. Batmanglij has written the script with the film’s star, indie up-and-comer Brit Marling, with the film marking the pair’s first collaboration after their Sundance hit, Sound of My Voice. The film has been billed as a sort of thriller, set in the world of hardcore eco-terrorist groups. We’ve known that Marling would play some sort of “agent” who infiltrates a group, called The East, which is led by Alexander Skarsgard, but today’s news on Page’s casting comes with some additional information on the film’s plot, which is now further explained as a “story [that] concerns a private contracting firm tasked with protecting big corporations from radical environmentalists and anti-business extremists that assigns its best and brightest agent to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist organization known only as ‘The East.’” Marling is the agent employee of said contracting firm, who “finds herself falling for the leader” of the group. As if that didn’t sound like trouble enough, “Page will play Izzy, a member of The East who used to be Skarsgard’s lover and is now jealous of the attention he pays Marling’s character.” Who wants to bet that it’s Page’s character who uncovers what Marling’s character is really up to and reveals it all in one snarling torrent?

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Since busting on to the scene with her work in two of Sundance 2011’s biggest hits, Brit Marling’s next roles have been the source of constant speculation and chatter. But the multi-hyphenate’s skills go far beyond just acting, and one move was always for sure – she would be reteaming with Zal Batmanglij for another film, titled The East. With Marling serving as female lead and co-writer with director Batmanglij, the film was in need of strong male lead to play against Marling. They may have gotten that with Alexander Skarsgård, who is in talks to join the film. We don’t know much about the film (and I don’t expect that to change, considering that the little we do know seems so intriguing and not in need of any sort of big elaboration), but we do know that it will revolve “around a female agent who infiltrates an eco-terrorist group. The title of the movie refers to the group’s name.” Marling will play the agent, with Skarsgård in talks to take on the role of the group’s leader. The East will chronicle the type of fringe group not normally seen on cinema screens. It brings to mind the documentary If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, which opened this year. That film focused on true stories of some of the ELF’s members, a number of which are certainly interesting enough to go the big feature route. The East should play as an interesting counterpoint to Marling […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly conglomeration of movie news and editorial links that doesn’t see color. It just sees people. Because it’s people that matter. Tonight’s top story: Great Caesar’s Ghost! Lawrence Fishburne will play Perry White in Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot. He will be the first non-white version of the Daily Planet editorin any film, comic or television show. It’s a bold choice, no matter how you slice, adding further intrigue to what Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan have in-store for Kal-El.

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Another Earth isn’t a sci-fi film. It’s a drama. While this idea may disappoint some of you, the sci-fi backdrop for the film is purely there for symbolism. Blending the science-fiction element with the core drama, on a structural and tonal level, must not have been an easy task. As director and co-writer Mike Cahill discusses, it wasn’t. It’s difficult to really talk about Another Earth fully without going into spoiler territory, so the conversation I had with Cahill was a revealing one. Once you’ve seen the film, then you’ll know why the ending can’t go un-discussed. Another Earth asks a handful of questions, and the ending raises the biggest and most divisive one. So, of course, beware of Spoiler-y hints. Here’s what Mike Cahill had to say about end theories, finding a cohesive structure, and the similarities between the star and co-writer Brit Marling‘s other feature, Sound of My Voice:

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Maybe going in blind to this movie is the best option, because going in blind worked brilliantly for the trailer. I knew nothing about Another Earth until scoping out these few minutes, but those minutes are built to cause goosebumps. The less said the better. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column with a bunch of movie news in it. What, are you new here?

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Editor’s Note: In a fevered rush to get straight to the movies he loved, intrepid reviewer Robert Levin didn’t write an intro. In fact, he might not even believe in them. Maybe he believes you’d rather dig into the movies than read one. So without any ado, here’s Robert’s list of the best movies he saw at Sundance. Look out for a few of them coming to a theater near New York and LA and On Demand throughout the year.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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