The East, a new high-stakes, big-ideas eco-thriller starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, and Ellen Page, closed out the SXSW Film Festival on Saturday and EW was invited to join director Zal Batmanglij and the cast for the long night of celebration. The evening began at the Four Seasons lobby bar with Batmanglij, a vegan, sitting on a sofa covered in cow pelt. “I honor this animal,” he said with a laugh.
He first met Marling at Georgetown University, and the two, along with fellow filmmaker Mike Cahill, quickly became best friends and collaborators. In 2011 the trio revealed the potency of their creative force with Another Earth (written by Marling and directed by Cahill) and Sound of My Voice (written by Marling and directed by Batmanglij), both purchased by Fox Searchlight. That same year, Marling and Batmanglij sold their spec script The East, about a private investigator (Marling) who infiltrates an anarchist collective and quickly feels her loyalties waver and shift. READ FULL STORY