In a summer that’s already seen a third Transformers, fifth X-Men and eighth Harry Potter movie, writer/actress Brit Marling has dreamed up the ultimate sequel: Earth 2. Her indie drama Another Earth, in which she starred, as well as co-wrote with director Mike Cahill, imagines how the discovery of a duplicate Earth, complete with twins of our selves, effects Rhoda, a young woman wracked with remorse after she causes a fatal drunk-driving accident.
Clad in an orange floor-length Marc Jacobs dress in a suite at a Toronto hotel, the 27-year-old’s style today is a dramatic contrast to Rhoda, who shrouds herself in baggy coveralls at her job as a school janitor. Now on a 20-city tour to promote the film, she’s enjoying experimenting with fashion. “How you feel in a pair of heels is very different from how you feel in flats so you’re always kind of negotiating your identity and the re-telling of your identity through clothes,” she says.
Marling wrote the script for this film with Cahill, her friend and collaborator since they were students at Georgetown University. (He’s also her ex-boyfriend.) She took up writing as a reaction to the lousy roles she was reading. “A lot of people would say, ‘Well you just do that stuff and eventually you get to a place where you can be a part of stories that you feel matter’,” she says. “And I just didn’t want to do that.”
Her strategy worked. After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, a bidding war broke out over Another Earth. Early screenings have left people debating Rhoda’s moral ambiguity as she befriends the father of the family she killed in the crash (played by William Mapother, who is Tom Cruise’s cousin). For Marling, it’s this struggle to understand people so unlike herself that keeps her interested in acting. “It’s in the effort that you learn something about what it means to be human,” she says.
Another Earth opens in Toronto on Friday, July 29, with other cities across Canada following in August.
Watch Now: The trailer to Another Earth