The East screened during the SXSW Film Festival and has had a limited release in theaters as of May 31st and now expands into Austin, Texas as of today at the Violet Crown Cinema and the Regal Arbor Theaters. This is such a great film that I look forward to having it receive a great audience because it is so well written and the performances are great.
Photo at the Hyatt Regency for Interviews for The East during SXSW – Photo credit: Liz Lopez, Liz’s Lenzwork
Sadly, those of us participating in the Sunday interviews with the cast of The East were not allowed to take pictures of them, including Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij, nor Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard. I am very excited to have participated in the interviews during the SXSW Film Festival with Brit Marling, who co-wrote the screenplay with Zal Batmanglij. He serves as director and she stars as Sarah, the operative for a an elite private intelligence firm. Page and Skarsgard’s characters are both members of the The East, the collective that has been executing covert attacks upon major corporations.
The interviews began with Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard, who gave their perspectives on the film’s story. Skarsgard stated, “It is an important story and told in a way not previously done. It made me think and ask questions. There are no good or bad guys. Think about the responsibility and the dilema to justify or draw the line.” To that, Page added, “I have the same regard for the script. It floors you. It is fiction, but is entertaining. For me, I am personally interested in it.”
The cast works very well together in the film and we discuss the dynamic among them. Page stated, “To be honest, it does not always happen like this among the cast members. This had a rare quality and had a beautiful time; it jelled very well. I met Alex and began feeling safe. It was an organic feeling, on and off the screen; we would eat, go to the fair close by. It is a testament to Alex.” Skarsgard interjected, “This is not always the case.” Page continued, “I feel like we made friends.” To this he added, “We were filming in Shreveport and no one was from there. So we all hung out together and this definitely helped.”
As we continued discussing how close to reality this appeared, Skarsgard said, “We have to work very had to get there. This came as a bonus.” Page added, “The film is liberating; playing spin the bottle and bathing in the lake, even lying down in the dirt.”
Photo credit: Miles Arwonowitz for Fox Searchlight
Brit Marling is a gem to talk to in person, very kind and open to discuss the film, along with Zal Batmanglij. As we began the interviews, Marling stated, “This is based on real life. We lived with a group of anarchists; as travelers, we became part of it and lived like that and it inspired us to write.” Batmanglij added, “It felt natural and ready to make into a movie.”
The producers are Tony and Ridley Scott and we talked about the process of the getting the script to them. Batmanglij said, “They saw our film, Sound of My Voice then they read this (script) and agreed to produce it.” Marling added, “All the people who made this are great collaborators.”
See this film in Austin at the Violet Crown Cinema and the Regal Arbor Theater. I highly recommend it; I have seen it twice so far and will go again with friends!