Alexander Skarsgard and Brit Marling The East Interview

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True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard and his The East co-star Brit Marling talk exclusively about their new thriller. The East is the final film produced by the late, great, Tony Scott.

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The East
Action, Drama
Alexander Skarsgard
Brit Marling, Interviews, Exclusives
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Interviewer: I wanted to start by I noticed that Tony Scott is one of the producers. Given his amazing body of work, what it means to each of you that this film was one of the last that he got to work on. Brit: It was a tremendous thing when they decided they wanted to be a part of this movie. Michael Costigan, was their producer at Scott Free at the time, had seen 'Sound of my Voice' and as like, "What do you guys want to do next?" We were like, "We have this script 'The East,' and he took it to them. Of course, I grew up watching their films, and in particular their espionage stories and their ability to tell a film that is entertaining and robust but with amazing performances and amazing characters. It was an incredible honor for them to be a part of this, Tony in particular. Interviewer: What about you? Alexander: I felt the same way. I unfortunately never had a chance to meet him. I agree; Scott Free, it's just an amazing company. With those guys and with Michael, like you said, it's just an honor to work with. Interviewer: I want to ask you . . . switching to another genius, in my opinion, the woman sitting next to you. Of course, her partners and all, they have created some of the most intense films I've seen, all within the last couple years. What did you take away, or as a witness to this world of theirs, as she blushes, that is just so astoundingly special? Alexander: I didn't know Brit, I didn't know Zal. I read the script. I was wrapping up a season of 'True Blood', and I was about to start a 6-month hiatus. I'd read a lot of scripts. One day, I read 'The East', and I was just blown away by it. I thought it was so interesting, so smart, so relevant, and entertaining. It also made me think and just raised a lot of questions about morally, what's okay? What's justifiable? How far are you willing to go? I was down in San Diego, it was 4th of July. On the 4th, I called my agents and said, "I want to meet these guys." You guys were up in LA, so I jumped in my car on the 4th of July, and drove up to LA, and we met. It was just something about their energy, about their passion, and also like how they got started was very inspiring to me; how coming out to LA, getting a lot of 'girlfriend' offers, not very interesting roles. How they're just were like, "All right. We'll just write something ourselves." Also with Mike Cahill, how they live together. Brit would write 'Another East' with Mike, in the morning, then have lunch, and then go down and write 'Sound of My Voice' with Zal; just 2 amazing films. They're so supportive of each other, just such a wonderful group. It's like Mike was . . . when we shot 'The East', Mike was busy travelling the world with 'Another Earth'. He also did 'Second Unit', all the oil spill stuff, all that stuff Mike did in a garage in Shreveport. Brit: Unpaid. Just flew to help out his friends. Alexander: He would go like the Gotham Awards in New York, in a suit, with 'Another Earth', and then go straight from the after-party to the airport. Fly down to Shreveport. Show up on set at like 6:00 a.m., in his suit, no sleep, and like, "All right, guys. What can I do? How can I help?" It was so amazing. Brit: You know what's so cool; is that when we made this film, because Mike, Zal, and I have been making stuff together for a while, it was the first time that we made something where we felt like found other tribe members. The moment that we met Alex, Zal and I walked out of that meeting and we were really worried. The film doesn't work without a Benji that makes you believe he can lead a revolution. We met Alex and we were like, "There's the movie. There's the heartbeat and the soul of the movie." We hoped that he wanted to do it. Then we worked together, and Alex made the character so much better than it was ever written on the page. We workshopped all those scenes together. It was really cool to make this movie and feel like the tribe expanded and that you met collaborators that you were going to work with for the rest of your lifel an actor that you want to act opposite when you're in your 50's with each other, and you want to know each other all through your life. That doesn't happen that often. Interviewer: No. Alexander: No. Not only we obviously bonded, but also, the people behind the camera were . . . you guys picked an amazing crew. It's such a great script and such an important story, and people behind the camera were so invested. I've never experienced that before; where at lunch, a grip would come up to me and be like, "That scene, when Benji did that, what does that mean? Why would he do that?" or even come with ideas. "What if he did that instead?" Suddenly, you're having a conversation with someone who's not the director and not an actor, and just everyone cared so much about the project. We, in a way, became like a little collective, became 'The East' in a way. We didn't attack corporation while we were out there, but on weekends, we would get together and cook, dance, hangout, and sit on the floor, work on scenes, and play around with it. It was such an amazing collaborative process.

The East Review

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij have done it again. The duo have written another riveting screenplay (after last year’s Sound of My...

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