She may have the exquisite bone structure, dazzling ocean-blue eyes and beachy blond locks common to La La Land ladies but Brit Marling is not your typical acting ingenue, choosing to give movies a try after her life as an academic felt too safe, too boring, too predictable. And it doesn't seem you can shake things up any more than by thrusting yourself into the choppy waters of professional movie-making.
Since co-directing the doc Boxers and Ballerinas in 2004, Marling has been steadily making her way in Hollywood on her own terms, writing and directing, and more recently, acting in films she's had a hand in creating and controlling, like last year's award-winning indie Another Earth.
This coming weekend she stars in Sound of My Voice, playing a limited run at select Cineplex theatres, playing a mysterious cult leader who gets her dedicated followers to believe she's from the future and considering how much conviction and determination Marling projects off-screen, it's not too much of a stretch to believe she'd have people hanging on her every word.
Find out the 5 things you should know about the next triple-threat with our handy Brit Marling list.
She traded economics for artistry
Marling double-majored in economics and studio arts at Georgetown, graduating as the valedictorian. Her valedictory speech, though, hinted that she was toying with taking her life in a different direction when she said getting As wasn't necessarily something to aspire to and it was time to take risks. After an internship at investment firm Goldman-Sachs, Marling was offered a full-time position and kindly declined over email, revealing she was going to become an artist.
When she wasn't being offered the roles she wanted, she wrote them herself
A secret cinephile, Marling struck up a friendship with fellow students Mike Cahill and Zal Batmanglij, who were already making shorts at university, and moved with the duo to L.A., living and working together, trying to get auditions. She quickly tired of being offered "hot girl" roles in B-grade horror films, so taught herself to write scripts and develop complicated characters that otherwise wouldn't have come her way.
She had two films at Sundance
Last year was a big one for Marling, who brought Another Earth and Sound of My Voice to the Utah film festival, where both films got picked up and director Cahill won the Special Jury Prize for Another Earth. SOMV was actually only finished two days after the festival began and by then the plane tickets were prohibitively expensive, forcing Marling, Cahill and Batmanglij to drive to Sundance. Fox Searchlight eventually picked up both films for distribution.
She made out with Gillian Jacobs on "Community"
You may recognize Marling if you're a fan of the NBC comedy from the second season episode entitled "Early 21st Century Romanticism." Marling guest starred as Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) supposedly lesbian friend Page, whom Britta is hanging out with to prove just how cool she is, until the two share a kiss and realize that neither are interested. Marling described the experience to Details magazine thusly: "It was awesome. We totally went for it. The first time, we both went with such energy and thrust that our teeth hit. We were both rubbing our mouths, and I was bleeding a little bit. The first one was not graceful."
She has three more movies coming out this year
Marling will appear in The East, Arbitage and The Company You Keep before the end of 2012, and two of those films star major A-listers, proving she's looking at acting beyond the films she and her creative partners are writing. Arbitage stars Richard Gere as a troubled magnate who is trying to sell off his empire and has to seek help from an unlikely source while The Company You Keep finds Marling teaming up with Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf. The East, which Marling and Batmaglij wrote together stars Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Julie Ormond and Patricia Clarkson and follows a contract worker trying to infiltrate an anarchist group before becoming enticed herself by what they have to offer. If you've yet to see Marling in action, this year, the on-the-cusp triple-threat gives you plenty of opportunities.
Sound of My Voice opens in select Cineplex theatres May 4.
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