The world may be in the thralls of Jennifer Lawrence fandom, but let us pause for a moment to celebrate indie's own answer to America's sweetheart. Brit Marling doesn't quite do photobombs or jokes about the corpus, but instead she is always poised and ready to provide a thoughtful, passionate quote. Women in Hollywood? She offers inspirational insight. The female response to geek-dom? She'll speak effusively. She's not only a great voice in the realm of writing and directing, but she's an incredible actress, too, which means that when she takes a role, we'll go see a movie.
The aforementioned policy paid off when we stopped by I Origins at Sundance, another imaginative partnership between Marling and director Mike Cahill. After Another Earth, we had high hopes, but the revelatory sci-fi romance isn't too science fiction or overly romantic. Instead, it asks macro questions on a micro scale and left audiences reeling with their implications.
You were talking about finding a young space for women in film — what would you say to a woman who wants to start making something? How did you start?
“I think that part of it is finding other young collaborators. There are so many people out there who want to do stuff, make things that matter. We were really lucky because Mike and Zal (Batmanglij) banded together to help each other out. You need someone to support you when you’re broke, tired, and everyone is telling you your dream is crazy. You need a couple solid bros to believe in you. I think it just has to start somewhere. It’s always intimidating to open up the laptop and stare at the blank page thinking whether or not you have something to say. You have to somehow plow through that. If you can, amazing. We’re somehow dying for the female perspective.”
Well, you’ve definitely made some headway in the more out-there science fiction, darker side of human realm. Are you particularly interested in that? Would you ever want to do a big budget sci-fi movie?
“I’m just into good story telling. I’d be excited if it cost $10 or a million bucks as long as it’s a good story and character. Sci-fi is an awesome way to invoke a sense if wonder and awe — that’s why I go to the cinema, anyway. I want my mind and my heart to be blown. Sci-fi is a cool way to approach that. I think it has to balance out with a human perspective. A lot of movies disappear into the CGI spectacle, and those don’t move me as much as the stories that are grounded in human drama.”
Well, sci-fi, when done right, is really woman-friendly. A good sci-fi movie is so intuitive.
“Well, think about Alien. I recently rewatched that movie, and it still holds up. It’s still provocative. I guess we have our work cut out for us women who are writing and directing.”
What’s it like being at Sundance now that you’re a bit more established? Do you remember your first festival?
“I can’t even describe it because you’re so filled with doubt. You question whether you can do this for a living — will you ever be able to make a living off of it? It’s surreal to see the work that you’ve been making with your friends meet the world, embrace it, and be excited about it. It’s a transformative experience; you’re one person before it and another person after. I think you have to be really vigilant after and keep struggling to strip yourself bare, and make sure you have something essential to say. You should get out of the way and let someone else say something if you don’t.”
Who would you rather be: Katniss, Bella, or Hermione?
“I’m going to go with Hermione because of the magic powers — I mean, c’mon! All those girls are badass, but I wouldn’t mind having a wand and being able to conduct a few things.”