Which Dark, Depressing Movie Should Brit Marling Make First?

Four options for this year's Sundance It girl, and none of them appears to be a comedy

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We still haven't seen Sound of My Voice or Another Earth, the two movies starring and co-written by former Georgetown University anthropology student Brit Marling that premiered at this year's Sundance film festival, but we've heard good things. The Hollywood Reporter called Sound of My Voice "[a] terrific and engrossing venture into speculative fiction" and The Philadelphia Inquirer's Steven Rea praised Marling's ability to convey "sadness, and quietude, and the glimmer of hope" in Another Earth, which Fox Searchlight acquired for a reported $1 million.

A nice start, but what's next? According to a new Vulture item, she's circling (or being circled for) four projects, all of which seem--to us--rather sad and depressing. Kudos to her for doing serious stuff,  naturally, but wow: right now she's choosing from scripts that concern public nudity, deep cover police work, domestic terrorists, and a fractured father-daughter relationship involving a sniper.

Magic Mike

Steven Soderbergh ended his brief retirement to direct this film, based on Channing Tatum's days as a male stripper, about "a veteran dancer who teaches a newcomer how to hustle both on and off the stage," according to the plot description offered by CNN's Marquee blog. Soderbergh can go funny or dark, but Tatum told the Sydney Morning Herald last year, "it needs to be a crazy film," only to increase our confusion by adding that it could also be played as "a cute, romantic film." Maybe it was that uncertain tone--a seedy male stripper buddy comedy that also has the potential to be cute and romantic--that caused Marling to pass on the project.

The East

Vulture says this one's "a thriller about an FBI agent who infiltrates an ecoterrorist group," with a script co-written by Marling. The downside, according to Vulture, is that the October 11 start date is "still-tentative" and it's looking as if Fox Searchlight will only make it if they "land a huge star to anchor it."

The Company You Keep

Speaking of huge stars, Robert Redford is interested in Marling to play the female lead in his adaptation of Bryan Gordon's novel. According to Variety, Redford will direct and also star as "a former Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years who must go on the run when a young, ambitious reporter [played by Shia LaBeouf] exposes his true identity." Radical '60s politics, chases, jabs at the state of American media, having to play opposite Shia LaBeouf--this does sound like a grown-up movie. The one downside: it starts filming September 14, which could imperil Marling's involvement in The East.

One Shot

A Tom Cruise movie, but a rough-and-tumble Tom Cruise movie, based on Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels. Cruise is playing Reacher, described in Deadline's post on the film as a 6'5," 250 pound "bruising tough guy," character traits screenwriter Chris McQuarrie would be wise to tweak as the project. Vulture reports Marling is being "considered for the part of Helen Rodin, the defense attorney who squares off against her father, the district attorney of Indianapolis, to defend a sniper from multiple murder charges." Again, there's a scheduling conflict: filming starts September 27, which would rule out The Company You Keep and likely push back The East.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.