The new film Another Earth stars Brit Marling as a woman who watches a duplicate planet hover beside ours as she struggles to escape from her own devastating past. But Marling doesn't only star in (and, some say, steal) the film — she also co-wrote and co-produced it with director Mike Cahill. And she and Cahill made it with a very specific goal of blending a very human story with the sci-fi twist: "We always wanted to do a sci-fi story in which, if you stripped away the high concept, it would still hold weight."
On Friday's All Things Considered, Marling talks with Robert Siegel about the challenges of life as a "hyphenate" (here, actor-writer-producer) and the challenges of making such an ambitious and unconventional movie on Another Earth's very, very small budget. As she explains, there wasn't even money to fake or rent a place to shoot a prison sequence, so she and Cahill ... well, they did a little improvisation at a real prison. As she puts it, "the constraint really bred the creativity."
Marling talks, too, about the creativity of acting itself, and about the fact that it allows her to live out what she calls "multiple outcomes" — an apt description for an actress-producer-director who once considered becoming an investment banker. (Incidentally, fans of NBC's Community may know her from another acting job where she played Page, Britta's allegedly lesbian friend.) Acting itself, Marling says, is partly a way of "not deciding on one version of your life ... you get, like, every human experience."
Even that career on Wall Street that never came to be? "I could access that if I had to," she laughs.