Washington, Jul 12: What do you do when you're older than many newcomers to Hollywood, you have no professional acting experience, but you want to be in movies? You co-write your own starring role.
Brit Marling and Mike Cahill co-wrote "Another Earth, which she stars in with Tom Cruise's cousin William Mapother. Cahill directed the film, which won an award at Sundance.
"I just wanted to act and I couldn't figure out how to do it," she said. "And I kept thinking I must be missing something here. I keep hitting up against a wall and all these other people are getting parts and doing things. But I came so late to the game, or what feels like late for LA, it seemed the best way to do it was to write. But there were so many times during the writing of it and as we were trying to make these movies that, you keep thinking, oh my gosh, I'm taking like the longest route to try to get to some place."
Marling's route began as a child when she exhibited a theatrical side.
"I was always just in weird outfits, like I would pull the weirdest stuff together, like I would scavenge through my grandmother's attic and like pull all these things from the 20s and match them with things from the 90s like M.C. Hammer pants with like weird 20s hats," she said. "I thought I was like terribly fashionable I guess. And I was like putting on plays and things and charge the neighbors lots of money to come see them."
Marling left acting behind and majored in economics at Georgetown University. Even though she graduated at the top of her class, she'd already decided economics wasn't for her, so she returned to her first love, acting.
In "Another Earth," Marling's character Rhoda causes a fatal car crash. The director wanted to get her true reaction to what her character had done, so he didn't let her see the carnage on the set until she was ready to film the scene.
"They set up the cars and I hadn't seen William (Mapother) or Meggan Lennon, who plays his wife, I didn't see them or the kid and they had all them put through makeup and he walked me out to the set like literally shielding my eyes and I sat down and they put blood in my mouth and then I like woke up and the first thing I did was spit out the blood and then you go through all the things you've imagined that your ribcage has been shattered and that your ankle's broken and it helps that you haven't seen any of these things before and you sort of lose yourself in this experiencing the accident for the first time," she said.
The side story of the movie is the discovery of a duplicate Earth inhabited by doppelgangers of the people who live on the real planet. Marling says if she ever met her doppelganger, they'd understand each other immediately without having to speak.
"I wonder, would you say anything?" she said, "as if part of the amazing thing of that experience that you don't have to speak because this is the person who knows you without language. It's like the way a mother and like a child is. They don't have to talk to each other. They have a knowing already and maybe we're always chasing that sense of wanting to be known and loved the way that your mother loved you before you even speak. I think there's something about the doppelganger idea that's like that. Like, you would look at that person and they would look at you and it's you and you know already everything."
"Another Earth" opens in limited release in the U.S. on July 22. AP