Director Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling Talk About The Making of ‘Sound of My Voice’ and More
Remember this title: Sound of My Voice. That’s the name of the movie you should go see this weekend. The film is released in limited theaters but I urge you to hunt it down if you can, it’s pretty great.
The film is about a couple and documentary filmmakers, Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) who decide to infiltrate a mysterious group led by the enigmatic Maggie (Brit Marling).
And if you’re not sure whether it sounds like something you might be interested in, FOX Searchlight has made the first 12 minutes of the film available for you to watch, that’s how much faith they have in the film and that’s what got me really excited about it in the first place (stay tune for my review tomorrow).
Writer/director Zal Batmanglij and writer/lead Brit Marling (whom you might know from her other brilliant film Another Earth) recently took some time to answer a few questions from reporters about their film. Here are the highlights of what you should know about Sound of My Voice:
While co-writing Sound of My Voice Marling and Batmanglij spent a lot of time outlining the story and telling each other the story. They wanted to get it to a point where they could go tell the story to a stranger at a coffee shop and they would get engrossed in it. He explained that for them there is no point to writing it on the computer if they don’t get it to that point. If people’s eyes light up, then you know that you’ve got a story.
– When Batmanglij and Marling sit down to physically write the story, it takes them about 2 weeks. They can be siting next to each other or separately because they know the story so well by that point.
– Marling explained that they do a lot of improv to get the scenes right. For example, she will one time play Lorna and and Batmanglij plays Peter and they try to hurt each other’s feelings, then they switch it around.
– Once they got the financing and green light for the film, Batmanglij and Marling’s path separated, he became the director, and she became the actress.
– The film was shot of the Canon EOS 7D camera.
– The film was shot in 18 days (3 weeks of 6 days).
– Marling talked about how everything film that Batmanglij does has something of him in it, you can tell he made it.
– Batmanglij explained that the inclusion of the handshake in the film was because he wanted to bring something strictly to visual to it. Which was also his way of giving a small homage to Quentin Tarantino who talked about liking things to be uniquely cinematic.
– The filmmakers really dropped Marling off at one end of skid row naked with a sheet around her and no shoes and then filmed her walking along the road, then picked her up at the other end.
– And in case you’re wondering, in the scene featuring the characters eating worms, those were real worms that Batmanglij ordered from a laboratory. They mixed them with some candy worms Oreo crumbs. Yikes! Marling described them as “chocolate coated worm.” She only did one take where she ate them.
– The film is structured like chapters of a book and give the viewer the same feeling of: Do you want to keep reading? Or pause?
– There is a possibility of a sequel for the film (or TV Show) which will depend on whether people like it and go see it.
– Batmanglij’s advice to filmmakers is “Don’t listen to people’s advice.” He explained that just because film school teaches you to shoot things one way it doesn’t have to be like that.
– Batmanglij also talked about people not making films because they’re scared, but her urges filmmakers to just go and shoot it. The only thing that is really needed is a good script and that doesn’t take money but just time. He joked that “if it’s bad no one will see it and even if it’s good not that many people will see it anyway.”
– Marling’s advice is to just pick a start date and no matter what, to start shooting that date. “Just decide and give yourself permission to fail. Don’t wait.”
– Zal Batmanglij started making his next film “The East” (which also stars Brit Marling) right after Sundance 2011. He is currently editing it.
– “You get to live several lifetimes in one.” – Brit Marling on acting
– Marling wants to keep acting and writing things for as long as she can.
Sound of My Voice will be released to limited theaters this Friday April 27th.