Director Zal Batmanglij’s Sound of My Voice is only now making its way to theaters (the intimate, cult thriller opens April 27), but the film wowed audiences at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, so much so, that Batmanglij quickly assembled a stellar cast for his next film, and shot it all before his debut even hit theaters. The East stars Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Kebbell and breakout starlet Brit Marling (who wrote and starred in Sound of My Voice, and while Batmanglij’s follow-up sports a high profile line-up, plot details have been kept carefully under wraps.
But with The East in the can, snippets of information are finally starting to be revealed. While walking the red carpet at the Wrath of the Titans premiere, Toby Kebbell (War Horse) spilled some details to me on The East. What’s this sizable cast up to in the film?
“We’re activists, more so eco-warriors. Whats happened is…I play a doctor, who, when he was an AIDS worker in Africa, he prescribed his sister and himself an anti-malaria drug that we call Denoxin. And Denoxin had a side effect on his sister, a syndrome called prosopagnosia, which is a condition where you forget your own face in the mirror, generally associated with head trauma, or genetic is what they thought. As it turns out, it’s actually a side effect of some of these drugs. So my journey is that I’m trying to give the drug company their drug to take, seeing as it’s so safe.”
WIth such a large cast, one would expect Kebbell to spend a majority of his time with a particular actor, but not so. “It’s an ensemble and it’s perfect. I share my scenes with everyone.” And while he praised the cast, working with two of his co-stars did cause a little pain. “It’s like having a very stiff neck. You’re staring up at Skarsgård or looking down at Ellen Page, it’s very weird.”
Kebbell revealed that, in comparison to the nearly one-location Sound of My Voice, The East opens up the scope—but that his character may not see too much of the fight. “There’s some action. It’s a big world. But my character doesn’t have any action, he has snapped tendons in his knees. He can’t walk very quickly. But there are some panic moments, some calm moments. It’s a beautiful journey.”
The East does not have a set release date, but the name cast should help this one land in theaters in the near future.