The East (USA 2013)


Zal Batmanglij


Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling



Michael Costigan, Jocelyn Hayes Simpson,


Brit Marling




Brit Marling

Jane Owen / Sarah Moss

Alexander Skarsgård

Benji / William Woodhouse

Ellen Page

Isadora "Izzy" Duncan / Kate Cannon

Toby Kebbell

Doc / Thomas Ayers

Shiloh Fernandez

Luca Abramn

Aldis Hodge

Thumbs / Darly East Wilsford

Danielle Macdonald

Tess / Hannah Gates

Hillary Baack

Eve / Jessica

Patricia Clarkson


Jason Ritter


Julia Ormond

Paige Williams

Billy Magnussen

Porty McCabe

Wilbur T. Fitzgerald

Robert McCabe


(Complete Cast & Crew)

The East - Poster


Eco-Thriller / Drama


116 minutes




US $6,500,000

Filming dates:

31st October - 7th December 2011

Filming locations:

Shreveport / New Orleans, Louisiana, USA / Washington, DC, USA


PG-13 (For thematic elements, violence, some disturbing images, sexual content and partial nudity)

World premiere:

20th January 2013 (Sundance Film Festival)

Company / Studio:

Fox Searchlight, Scott Free Productions

Official website:

IMDb website:

DVD premiere:

17th September 2013 (USA)



English Press Kit by Fox Searchlight

(PDF Document, 443 KB)


Official synopsis:

Someone is attacking big corporate CEOs and forcing them to consume harmful products they manufacture. An elite private intelligence firm is called into action and contracts ex-FBI agent, Sarah Moss to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective, The East, suspected to be responsible. Skilled, focused, and bent on success, Sarah goes undercover and dedicates herself to taking down the organization. She soon finds, however, that the closer she gets to the action, the more she sympathizes with the group’s charismatic leaders.

Alternate synopsis:

In The East, Sarah Moss is a brilliant operative for an elite private intelligence firm whose top objective is to ruthlessly protect the interests of their A-list corporate clientele.  She is assigned to go undercover to infiltrate an anarchist collective known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Living amongst them in an effort to get closer to their members, Sarah finds herself unexpectedly torn between two worlds as she starts to fall in love with the group's charismatic leader, finding her life and her priorities irrevocably changed.


  • Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling were inspired by their life-changing experience of living “undercover” with a group of anarchists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2010 and 2011
  • They tried to shoot "The East" before "Sound Of My Voice", with a cast including Andrew Garfield and Rooney Mara. But financiers felt those names weren't big enough at the time
  • Fox Searchlight was willing to take the project, but only on the condition that they can find a huge star (Ellen) to anchor it
  • Felicity Jones was originally set to play Izzy, but press commitments for the film “Like Crazy” forced her to drop out
  • The scenes at the lake were shot at the Hamel Memorial Park in the first week of production
  • A few scenes take place at a house, which can be seen in the intro of the ”True Blood” TV series
  • The East is the second film Alexander Skarsgard has shot in Shreveport, the town where his True Blood character owns a bar
  • There were two test screenings in Pasadena, California on May 10, 2012 and September 13, 2012
  • During the production the following fake profile on Facebook have been created for publicity purposes at a later date:
    - Trevor Landon (
    - Luca Abhramn (
    - Daryl East Wilsford (
    - Thomas Ayers (
    - Kate Cannon (
    - Hannah Gates (


  • "Zal just pulls off these incredibly ambitious days every day; I feel like we’re making a movie that needs 60 days in like half the time. But it’s going really, really well, and it’s cool making a movie someone you’ve been working with for years, because you know each other so well at this point that you kind of even don’t have to talk about a lot of stuff. You just know, and it’s nice because there’s a short hand there. So it’s going well." [...] "Because the story is so kind of divisive, it kind of attracts its own tribe, and really repels people who wouldn’t be interested. So everybody is so committed, it actually reminds me of ‘Sound of My Voice’ in the sense that ‘Sound of My Voice’ was made with very little money, and that was kind of a good way for vetting people." [...] "People only get involved if they really love the story. So everyone comes to work every day not because they’re getting a huge paycheck, but because they really believe in the movie – and that makes everyone work harder." [...] "I think it’s been a similar thing on ‘The East’ - it’s the kind of movie that people do because they have to, like they feel somehow compelled, that the story is significant. I feel like I’ve been really lucky in that respect, to work on a story where the actors all come with that homework and preparation to the table. It’s astounding, because when you write something, I think you’re worried, is it ever going to translate to an audience? And when the actors come and they push the text farther than you ever even imagined, and they get it as much as you did, or even moreso, even more deeply, then you sort of step back and go, like, wow, there’s a chance that these ideas could enter an audience of strangers with these actors as the custodians of it. It’s a tremendous thing to watch." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on making the movie; Source:
  • "The entire cast, from Alexander Skarsgard to Ellen Page and Patricia Clarkson, have put their everything into the movie and will be "unrecognizable" when compared to the characters they typically play. I think everybody's going to be surprised to see everyone in this. The characters and the world are very extreme. I don't think anyone is recognizable, if that makes sense." [...] "Everyone in the cast has thrown themselves entirely into their roles. Since none of the actors are extremist anarchists, they all had to put a lot of research into making sure their performances were believable and accurate." [...] "I could not possibly express to you how amazing the cast on this movie is. Alex and Ellen and Toby, they work so hard. They have done so much preparation, it's like we all come to work every day and you feel everyone's devotion to the material. It's a hard shoot. It's an ambitious movie. And it's being shot very quickly. Their work on it is astounding. It really is inspiring." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on the cast; Source:
  • "Once you're in the company of good actors, there's some feeling of security regardless of what goes wrong — because something always goes wrong. At least you know the performances will be great. And the script was great." (actor Aldis Hodge on working with his castmates; Source:
  • ”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.” (actor Toby Kebbell on his character; Source:
  • "It's an ensemble and it's perfect. I share my scenes with everyone." [...] "It's like having a very stiff neck. You're staring up at Skarsgård or looking down at Ellen Page, it's very weird." (actor Toby Kebbell on working with his co-stars; Source:
  • “I'm super-excited about "The East." It's going to be really interesting. I'm super-pumped for that movie. My character is probably one of the most emotionally and physically exhausting roles, in the best way. It was such a dream role for me that just abruptly popped up in my life. It was just so much fun.” (actress Ellen Page on the movie; Source:
  • "It was an amazing experience. An incredible group of people came around that story and I think the story was a real test for the kind of person that would want to do it. Not everybody wants to make a movie about anarchy and so it was self-selecting. The actors who were drawn to it were the right people for the story and we had an incredible time making it. It’s the story of a girl who's a conservative corporate spy who goes undercover to infiltrate this group of anarchists. We had so much fun making it. We’re still in the middle of editing so who knows what kind of film is going to immerge." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on shooting the movie; Source:
  • "It's a completely different world. It's a whole new landscape of anarchists and rebellion. I think The East really came out of the desire of us wanting to rebel, and what does that rebellion look like? And this was before Occupy Wall Street. How do you rebel against the system? Where do you go, how do you live? So we did that research and went on the road to meet people to figure out how that might work." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on the comparison between The East and Sound of My Voice; Source:
  • "It's my best shooting experience to date. Making these films is grueling and challenging and amazing. You bring together a really special group of people and become a tribe. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on making the movie; Source:
  • "They were actually very similar experiences because we were just slaves to making a movie. I often think about filmmaking as digging something out. Brit and I pick up a shovel and start digging, and you see the shape of something under the earth. In the case of The East, we got great actors like on Sound of My Voice. On that, Patty Clarkson came and picked up the shovel. Ellen Page came and picked up the shovel. Alexander Skarsgard picked up two shovels. We’re shoveling away together, meanwhile, the costume designer comes, the cinematographer comes and the production designer comes. Gosh, everyone’s just digging away. At the end, there’s this thing, this movie that exists. I found this overarching feeling on Sound of My Voice that carried over into The East." (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on making The East and Sound of My Voice; Source:
  • “Alex was so ‘it’ from the beginning because he has this gravitas, this deep well of soulfulness and feeling. You would follow him into the woods. On the second day of shooting, the cast was naked in frigid water, bathing one another for a scene. When something like that happens on the second day, it cuts through all the insecurities and everyone gets really close, very quickly. The experience was so raw and intense.” (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on actor Alexander Skarsgård and the first days of filming; Source:
  • "I got to play a bisexual sometime-crossdresser. The back story is that Alexander Skarsgard and I had been lovers in college. He’s an attractive, tall, strapping man. He’s a nice guy." (actor Shiloh Fernandez on his role; Source: September/October 2012 issue of UK's Wonderland magazine)
  • “Unlike my character [a very charismatic anarchic fighting the corporations] from “The East”, I don’t think that we’ve come to the end of the world. I do believe that we have to drastically fight the society we’re living in, it’s not possible that the ones that pollute the rivers can afford not to drink that water when so many others are forced to.” (actor Alexander Skarsgård on his character’s belief; Source: September 2012 issue of L’Uomo Vogue magazine)
  • "Inspired by an era when the Internet has put power back in the hands of individuals, The East sources a host of movements, from Freegans (who attempt to live off the grid by scrounging for food) and the Occupy movement to more radical groups like Anonymous and the Weather Underground. [...]  It seems like across all generations there seems to be a sense of unrest and confusion about where we are and how we've gotten here and where we go next. There's fiscal cliffs and school shootings. It's a very strange time." (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on the inspiration for the movie; Source:
  • "The ethics of all of it become very muddled, particularly when murder's on the menu. [...] I think it presents some interesting gray areas and important questions." (actress Ellen Page on the movie; Source:
  • "The question is, morally, where do you draw the line? How far are you willing to go for this cause? [...] The East braids Bourne-like espionage into a modern eco-puzzle. But it's not preachy. It's complicated. The way life is and reality is." (actor Alexander Skarsgård on the movie; Source:
  • “We discovered anarchist and freegan collectives all over the country and lived with some of them for a while. We got to know people who had interesting ideas about how you might live your life – learn to grow your own food, to fix your own car, to defend yourself, to live in small communities, share things with each other, teach each other how to become radically autonomous beings again. We weren’t thinking at the time that a movie would come out of the experience. We were just living our lives and the story gradually began to take shape.” [...] “We had amazing experiences. One night, we all got on bikes and went downtown to play a citywide game of capture the flag -- jumping over parked cars, running through restaurants, scaling parking garages. Then everybody stripped naked and got into a fountain in the pouring rain. It was a different way of seeing the world – everything is public space waiting to be reclaimed, reimagined." [...] "Across the way in a sky scraper was a guy in a suit at his desk on a conference call. I was rolling up my sleeping bag on the rooftop adjacent and I caught his eye.
    We just stared at each other. There was only 6 feet between the buildings, but the gap between the way we were living our lives was so wide. Sarah, our main character, is living in both worlds and trying to straddle the gap.”
    (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on the beginning of The East; Source: official US press kit)
  • “The people we met were really awesome, warm and welcoming, but tough. We got three vegan meals a day by dumpster diving. At first I did think, am I really going to eat like this? But I got into it as time went on. Going weeks without spending a dollar is an amazing feeling. Everyone should try it. We didn’t see movies. We weren’t listening to recorded music. Everything was happening organically from the group. The spin-the-bottle game in the film came from an experience we had. Thursday nights that was what we did as a way of entertaining ourselves.” [...] “That was one of the best summers of my life. When we got back, it was as if we had come out of the dream we’d been living. But we found that what had been normal life for us before now seemed bizarre. To have your life turned upside down like that is transformative.” (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on the beginning of The East; Source: official US press kit)
  • "The East isn’t an issues movie or a political movie. It is first and foremost an espionage thriller and journey story that pushes its characters into difficult dramatic territory.” (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on the movie; Source: official US press kit)
  • “We gambled on the chance that other people would feel the way we did about this movie. Everybody knew from the get-go that we didn’t have much money or many days to make it. You could see a deep level of commitment at the first table read. I think everybody was amazed, looking around the table, seeing and feeling the impact of all this incredible talent coming together, even in an anonymous hotel conference room in northern Louisiana.” (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on the casting of the actors; Source: official US press kit)
  • “Sarah is a bit like a thoroughbred racehorse. She’s incredibly well-trained and ready to run the race of life. She’s in the starting gate and when it lifts, she’s off and running. But she has blinders on that keep her from realizing that she’s running in a circle, until she encounters this group of people who force her to see the world and herself in a new way.” [...] “In the beginning, she’s infiltrating a group of terrorists who are doing 8 illegal things. They need to be brought to justice. But when she spends time with them, Sarah, being a brave, intense person herself, begins to forget who she is and to identify with their desire for radical accountability. Living in deep cover, it’s hard to hold on to who you really are, much less what you believe in.” (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on her own character; Source: official US press kit)
  • “It’s a very well written script with rich, real characters. I was especially intrigued by Benji, by his background and how he got to where he is. When I met with Zal and Brit, the only question I had was whether or not I wanted to spend three months in the woods with these people. I definitely did. They’re really special, both of them, super intelligent and extremely warm.” [...] "He is more militant than some of the other members of The East. He is willing to go a little farther to achieve his goals. There is no leader in an anarchist collective, but Benji is the driving force behind some of these ‘jams,’ as they call their missions. To him, this is a revolution. The fact that he believes so firmly in something is alluring." [...] “The film has a point of view, but it’s not preachy. There’s a lot of action in it, which makes it fun to watch, and it raises interesting questions, as well. Who are these people? Is what they’re doing right or wrong? The question is, morally, where do you draw the line?” (actor Alexander Skarsgård on his character and the movie; Source: official US press kit)
  • “This script was like nothing I’d read before. I was so moved by Izzy. As people and as artists, Brit and Zal have so much trust, honesty and enthusiasm. They care so deeply and that creates a special energy on set. I was grateful to be there every day.” [...] Izzy’s passion for justice and her anger at the unfairness she sees all around are a driving force for The East. She’s trying to help people get justice and to help the Earth. Every living thing gives us life, so how can we not want to respect that and protect it? The ethics of all of it become very muddled.” (actress Ellen Page on the script and her character; Source: official US press kit)
  • “Not to give too much away, but Ellen shot her most difficult scene on the first day. She did it with a bravery that was astounding. The whole cast was determined to do everything as bravely as Ellen did that day.” (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on Ellen Page's absolute commitment to her role; Source: official US press kit)
  • “Toby Kebbell is a fantastic actor. He came so prepared. He took it to a whole new level. Toby even spent time studying medicine and helped come up with realistic props for Doc to use.” (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on working with actor Toby Kebbell ; Source: official US press kit)
  • “It’s a modern thriller with a lot of heart. The East is giving these big companies a taste of their own medicine, so to speak, and promoting their jams on the Internet, so that more people are aware of the truth of what’s going on. For the YouTube-Occupy generation, it’s pretty relevant to see people rising up and deciding to fight for what they believe in this way.” (actor Shiloh Fernandez on the movie; Source: official US press kit)
  • “She is CEO of Hiller Brood, a powerhouse with a lot of people answering to her. She helps corporations avert public disasters and she’s very good at her job.” [...] “I think Sharon sees a lot of herself in Sarah. She puts a lot of faith in her. And Sarah delivers, but perhaps not in exactly the way Sharon expects. There are so many surprising elements in the film, but the heart of it is the transformation of this young girl, which is always a great story.” (actress Patricia Clarkson on her character; Source: official US press kit)
  • “They’re both so enchanting and so talented. And it was lovely to act with someone as present as Brit. Their writing is fluid and potent and topical. It’s almost a new genre of film, a hybrid, which is part of why it’s so great. It’s suspenseful, it’s emotional, it’s romantic, it’s mysterious. I think audiences will be swept away by it.” (actress Patricia Clarkson on working with Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling; Source: official US press kit)
  • "The film has a real modern, anarchic energy. It’s a particularly resonant tale for people who are disturbed by corporate irresponsibility. All the characters are interestingly distinct from one another. It pulls you in as you discover each person’s story.” (actress Julia Ormond on the movie; Source: official US press kit)
  • “The actors were so excited to come to work every day that Shreveport was like summer camp. The line between work and play blurred, but everyone took this project deeply seriously. On the weekends we would all sit around and practice the more complicated group scenes.” [...] “Anarchist groups are about lack of hierarchy and a film set has a lot of hierarchy, but we
    were able to fuse those things. Everyone did their jobs, but there was a sense that we had become a tribe.”
    (director and writer Zal Batmanglij on working with the cast; Source: official US press kit)
  • “The only thing I want them to take away is to have a thrill ride and entertaining experience, but also to ask questions. We ask a lot of questions, and we want them to go home and ask their friends questions, ask their parents questions, ask each other questions. [...] I hope that the audience stays in their seats all through the credits and that their heart is racing a little bit because it’s an espionage thriller and it’s fun, but it’s also about some things. I think a film that both makes you think and it also sends your pulse racing.” (writer, producer and actress Brit Marling on her own character; Source: Q&A session following the premiere screening at Sundance)
  • “I remember going to the meeting  and I was like ‘Ellen, just be cool, just be cool.’ And really, the how time I was like ‘Please just put me in your movie.’ And I just wouldn’t have been more grateful than to have been involved with this wonderful group of people.” (actress Ellen Page on the casting; Source: Q&A session following the premiere screening at Sundance)

Release Dates:



Festival / Event / Location / Comment



20th - 27th January 2013

Sundance Film Festival 2013, Park City, UT


31st January 2013

Special screening / Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI


16th March 2013

SXSW Film Festival, Austin, Texas / Closing Night Film


10th April 2013

Phoenix Film Festival


13th April 2013

Ivy Film Festival, Providence, Rhode Island


14th April 2013

Environmental Film Festival, Yale


15th April 2013

Toronto / Advance Screening



16th April 2013

Boston / Advance Screening



17th April 2013

Philadelphia Film Society Screening


18th April 2013

Washington / Advance Screening



21st April 2013

Louisiana International Film Festival


22nd April 2013

Chicago / Advance Screening



23rd April 2013

Dallas / Advance Screening



24th April 2013

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival


24th April 2013

Scottsdale / Advance Screening



27th April 2013

Newport Beach Film Festival


28th April 2013

Independent Film Festival of Boston


29th-30th April 2013

San Francisco International Film Festival


15th May 2013

USC School of Cinematic Arts Screening


20th May 2013

New York Premiere



21st May 2013

Producers Guild of America Screening


28th May 2013

Los Angeles Premiere



30th May 2013

Film Independent / LACMA Screening


31st May 2013

Limited theatrical release


United Kingdom

28th June 2013

Theatrical release



10th July 2013

Theatrical release



18th July 2013

Theatrical release



25th July 2013

Theatrical release



1st-2nd August 2013

Traverse City Film Festival


8th-10th August 2013

Way Out West / Göteborg / Swedish Premiere


11th August 2013

Melbourne International Film Festival


16th September 2013

Jameson Cinefest International Film Festival



17th September 2013

DVD/Blu-ray Release


Czech Republic

2nd October 2013

DVD Release



2nd October 2013

DVD Release


United Kingdom

21st October 2013

DVD/Blu-ray Release



29th October 2013

DVD/Blu-ray Release



30th October 2013

DVD Release



13th November 2013

DVD/Blu-ray Release



15th November 2013

DVD/Blu-ray Release



31st January 2014

Theatrical release



5th March 2014

DVD Release


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