From what I understand, Alexander Skarsgard is a desirable male specimen. I’ve never felt so much attention on social media as when I mentioned my initial meeting with Skarsgard a few weeks ago at the Press Day for What Maisie Knew, so go figure…this time around I felt pretty popular when I mentioned that he was among the folks I’d be talking with in regard to The East (though this time around my interactions with him were more limited), which opened this past weekend in limited release. Skarsgard was on hand along with co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Ellen Page, along with co-writer/director Zal Batmanglij and co-writer/star Brit Marling. I know Terence didn’t love the flick, but I found it pretty entertaining and a step up from Batmanglij and Marling’s prior film Sound of My Voice, which disappointed me. It’s a polished eco thriller with solid performances and a subtle sense of menace about it. The movie doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but I liked it enough to be excited for this particular Press Day. I didn’t particularly get to ask much of the folks, but alongside my industry colleagues we were able to get some interesting remarks from them all, so here’s the choice quote from each of the people interviewed!
First off, and most amusingly, filmmaker Zal Batmanglij walked in and quickly wanted to explain how to pronounce his name (basically it’s Batman and then glitch, like a computer glitch), which led me to work up the nerve to ask him if I could just call him Batman instead. He seemed to be rather amused by that. Later on though, I actually got to ask him a question…
Joey Magidson: So far in your career the research or in this case experiences you’ve put into films with Brit have been unique. Do you think you’ll get to a point where you don’t want to put the research in but still want to make a film or vice versa?
Zal Batmanglij: Well, I think it’s really important that you don’t get caught up in the way the filmmaking community isolates you and the way your life ends up being. I hope that I get the chance to recharge my batteries, and to be a real person as much as possible.
Next up was Brit Marling, who was paired with Patricia Clarkson. I only got to ask Marling a question, which you’ll see below, though I did joke with Clarkson about if my drink had been poisoned. Those who’ve seen the movie will understand.
Joey: You’re in the rare position in that you get to develop the projects that you make and not a lot of actresses can do that. You have the ability that if you don’t like the scripts coming your way you can just sit down and write one.
Brit Marling: It’s so competitive out there. There’s so many fiercely talented female actresses. It’s a necessity really for me. You feel like you got to write not only to get yourself a job, but for all the women whose work you love. There’s so many great women and not enough women writing for all of the great women that should be doing really challenging, cool stuff.
Finally, Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page came in. I didn’t get to ask anything but I did remind Skarsgard of our earlier chat about What Maisie Knew and how he mentioned wanting to do a comedy one day. His eyes lit up and he was keen to remind me that one of his very first jobs was a small part in Zoolander. I had completely forgotten and everyone got a nice laugh out of it.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!