Hannah Marks is constantly switching between roles. For her feature directorial debut, the actress limited herself to working behind the camera — but don’t box her in just yet.
“It’s a lot of trust for someone to place in me, so I wanted to be attached to a project where there wasn’t this pressure [of starring in the film],” she says of “After Everything,” which she cowrote and codirected with Joey Power. Instead, the film stars Maika Monroe, Jeremy Allen White and Sasha Lane, whom she befriended at an audition and later reached out to over Instagram. “I was like ‘hey, come play with us, we’re going to have a really fun time in New York City — you’ll get to be a stoner who’s obsessed with murder,’ and she really responded to it,” says Marks of casting her friend.
“I really understand how an actor thinks because I am one, so it was really exciting to give direction and be really supportive,” she adds, describing the shift from actor to director. “A lot of times I feel as an actor you get put in a box and people don’t really know what you can do, so it was nice to use my imagination and trust that the actors could bring something to it that I wasn’t necessarily aware of right away,” she continues. “I got into acting because I love movies so much, so it was never really about my passion for acting, it was about my passion for movies. It seemed like a natural transition for me to just do more of the filmmaking.”
Marks is 25 years old, but the L.A. native already has over a decade of experience in the industry, and this fall is proving to be particularly busy for her. In addition to “After Everything,” she has plenty of other projects in the pipeline; one of those,”Banana Split,” premiered in September. Marks cowrote the screenplay, her first writing collaboration with Power, and also stars in the rom-com opposite Dylan Sprouse and Liana Liberato, a longtime friend.
“The movie was originally called ‘Eskimo Sisters,’ if that tells you anything,” she says. “It was based on my high school breakup, because I think that everyone’s first thing they write is their first heartbreak.”
She references another young cinematic polymath as inspiration for writing: Lena Dunham.
“I’m basically playing an exaggerated version of myself [in the film], so the whole point was to get to do the Lena Dunham thing,” she says. “Because I worship her and everything she did with ‘Girls,’ so I wanted to try that myself.”
At the end of August, she wrapped filming for a horror film, “Daniel Isn’t Real,” and has since filmed two other protects, “You’re the Worst” and “Dinner in America,” in which she plays a girl who is a guinea pig at a drug-testing facility. She also wrote another film, “Mark Mary and Some Other People,” which she hopes to make this fall; she already has some producers and cast onboard. Another screenplay — “A road trip romance with a robot” — is finished but hasn’t been seen by anyone, yet.
“Staying busy keeps me sane,” she says. “I kind of throw all my balls at the wall. I try to do everything and see what happens.”