Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård star in “The East,” a suspenseful and provocative espionage thriller from acclaimed writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-actress Brit Marling. The film chronicles what happens when an elite private intelligence operative infiltrates an elusive anarchist collective that’s seeking revenge against major corporations guilty of covering up criminal activity.
At the recent press day, Page and Skarsgård talked about their characters, what drew them to the script, what it was like walking a fine line between hero and villain, their collaboration with Batmanglij and Marling, and how they think the movie will resonate with audiences. Skarsgård also revealed why he enjoys playing roles like Benji in this film, Derek in “Disconnect” or Lincoln in “What Maisie Knew” that are completely different from his character, Eric, in “True Blood.” Ellen discussed playing Kitty Pryde in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and the status of her directing project, “Miss Stevens.”
Question: Can you talk about your characters and what drew you to this project?
Ellen Page: I played the character of Izzy. Izzy is a member of The East. She’s incredibly angry, frustrated – sad at the state of the world and the injustice that she sees and the lack of accountability for corporations that commit some pretty awful atrocities, often legal, to the environment and people that are disenfranchised that don’t have a voice. I completely understood her anger and sadness in regards to her more personal story and connection and journey with it, and I loved getting to explore it. What drew me to it was really Brit [Marling] and Zal [Batmanglij]. “Sound of My Voice” was such an incredible, intriguing, unique and beautiful film. Brit’s performance was so beautifully written, suspenseful and entertaining and all these things, but then it was exploring so many ideas I was personally interested in. To meet them, their passion and creative drive is palpable, infectious and contagious. You just want to be a part of their work. That’s how I felt.