‘A Murder at the End of the World’ Cocreator Brit Marling Took a ‘Step Back From Acting’ for Directing Debut

The writer, who costars as Lee on the FX limited series, tells TheWrap her longtime collaboration with Zal Batmanglij helped the new role feel “less lonely”

Brit Marling in "A Murder at the End of the World." (Chris Saunders/FX)

Brit Marling is used to juggling multiple roles on the set of her projects, but “A Murder at the End of the World” marked the first time she sat on the director’s chair.

The actress, writer and now director helmed three out of the seven episodes in the FX limited series, which she also cocreated with her longtime filmmaking collaborator Zal Batmanglij. The job had been on her radar since working on the Netflix cult classic “The OA,” but Marling said taking on a smaller acting role on “Murder” finally gave her the time to take it on.

“Our worlds are often very ambitious, a little bit fantasy or a little bit sci-fi … everything has a newness to it that requires a lot of figuring out at every department level,” Marling told TheWrap. “[I knew] that if I wanted to really direct in the way I want to do it, I had to take a step back from acting and give myself the space … it was a real pleasure to do it.”

Marling said directing felt like “coming back to where [her career] started,” studying economics and photography at Georgetown. She described the job as a union of “entrepreneurship with art,” and credited Batmanglij with helping make the job feel “less lonely.”

“I’ve heard other directors talk about the loneliness of the job, which is a weird thing to say because you’re on set with a lot of people. But there’s also a lot of responsibility on your shoulders to pull it off,” she said.

Yet Marling still stepped in front of the camera on “Murder” to play Lee Andersen, a former hacker and the wife of Andy Ronson (Clive Owen), the billionaire host of the Icelandic retreat at the center of the whodunnit. The two investigations at the show’s core are led by Darby Hart (Emma Corrin), an amateur detective and true crime author known as “Gen Z’s Sherlock Holmes.”

Emma Corrin in “A Murder at the End of the World” (Christopher Saunders/FX)

“I just love the way their minds work. I think they’re sort of psychic to be honest,” Corrin said of the filmmaking duo. “They’re definitely channeling something from a different world, and they really think outside the box when it comes to characters and to human relationships.”

“I thought [the show] was a really fresh, interesting take on this sort of murder mystery genre, where you pull everyone together into a remote place and things start to go wrong, but it was done in a way that I hadn’t really seen before,” Owen told TheWrap.

Like many of the great Hollywood whodunits, “Murder” provides commentary on the current issues of the time, like the looming climate crisis, the unsolved murders of women and people of color, the evolution of artificial intelligence and how the internet is changing humanity. Darby serves as the narrator and emotional core of the series.

“She really just came to us, Darby Hart as a character, and was grounded and complex,” Batmanglij told TheWrap. “She was a way to take all these hyper subjects and make them tangible or understandable or emotional.”

“A Murder at the End of the World” is available to stream on Hulu. New episodes premiere Tuesdays through Dec. 19.


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