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And the chance to work with the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle doesn’t come round often.
Babylon marks Boyle’s return to televisi0n after a 12-year break.
She is telling the story of an audition she was sent to when she first arrived in Hollywood seven years ago.
“I found myself in a line of 50 girls all of whom had their hair curled, their lips glossed and were wearing high heels,” she explains in her warm East Coast accent, her anger subsiding. Yet I know that each one of them is an interesting person, and not one of them wants to be dressed like this to beg for a part in a horror film.’ She chose the latter, which, she says, was the harder option.
I remember watching Alien and thinking, ‘Oh, so a girl can go to space’.
“And it’s such a clash of ideas, because the police have their way of doing things, and this girl’s coming in with her Instagram and Twitter and outside-of-the-box ways of thinking.
It’s dangerous to stop living your own life, and only lead a work life. Maybe if I hung out for long enough in my favourite British pubs I might find love.” Unfashionable though it is for actors to have stable family backgrounds, Marling’s was.
I’m trying to remedy it, but it’s really hard because, if an amazing opportunity comes your way, you want to jump on it. Her parents are happily married property developers, and she grew up in several East Coast towns, but primarily in Chicago.
“She crossed over some liminal space,” Marling says, “like she’s confronted or had a conversation with death that enabled her to be alive with a kind of vibrancy that feels otherworldly.” That meeting led Marling and Batmanglij to research the phenomena that accompany near-death experiences — including instances of survivors returning with new, unusual skills like perfect pitch or sudden language fluency.
It was one of several areas of study for the two writers in creating the story.