Hannah Marks Captures Gen-Y Angst on Film

Hannah Marks Captures Gen-Y Angst on Film

The actress, writer, and director channels millennial anxiety into auteurism.

The actress, writer, and director channels millennial anxiety into auteurism.

Photography: Sharif Hamza

Styling: Lorenzo Posocco

Text: Maxwell Williams

This interview appears in the pages of V116, our Winter 2018 issue, hitting newsstands on November 8. Pre-order your copy of V116 at shop.vmagazine.com today! 

There’s a scene in After Everything in which one character sends another a text asking to see his new tattoo. “[J]ust radiation dots,” he texts back, “not that cool”—a line indicative of the film’s distinct flavor. The film, for which first-time director Hannah Marks received glowing reviews at SXSW, is biting and honest about the predicament of the aforementioned characters, Mia (Maika Monroe) and Elliot (Jeremy Allen White). The two have fallen in love in the midst of Elliot’s cancer diagnosis, and their journey plays more like a “Modern Love” essay than your typical sugarcoated cancer story.

“I became interested in film freakishly young,” says Marks, who was named after the titular character in the 1986 Woody Allen film Hannah and Her Sisters. “I’ve always loved TV and movies and entertainment in general, and wanted to be a part of it, whether it’s acting or filmmaking.” By age five she was acting professionally, and was even featured in a 2006 New York Times article about child actors (“Nobody wants their puberty on Google!” she says of the clip).

While her brashness may be that of an actor, Marks also shares the neuroses commonly associated with directors. “When you’re a hypochondriac, you’re looking at your veins, and you’re like, ‘Are these too blue?’” says Marks. “You have a headache, and you think it’s a brain tumor.” That anxiety, she says, inspired After Everything. “We tried to apply that to a movie, and make it a movie more about the relationship than the cancer itself.”

But Marks’s anxiety seems secondary to the emotion behind her projects. Soon she’ll appear in High Resolution, an adaptation of Tao Lin’s 2013 novel Taipei. And she took on even more responsibilities for Banana Split, a film she co-wrote, executive produced, and also acts in alongside fellow former child-actors Dylan Sprouse and Liana Liberato. “I think they’re all love stories,” she says of the relationship between her growing list of acting, writing, and producing credits. “What binds them is love and friendship. I’m obsessed with rom-coms. I’m a classic basic bitch that way.”

HANNAH WEARS JACKET JUST CAVALLI, DRESS GUCCI, BRA AGENT PROVOCATEUR, EARRINGS TIFFANY & CO.
Credits: MAKEUP HOMA SAFAR, HAIR ANNA LYLES (ATELIER MANAGEMENT), MANICURE MERRICK FISHER (OPUS BEAUTY) USING CHANEL LE VERNIS, PRODUCTION KRISTEN TERRY, ANTHONY CABERO (ROSCO PRODUCTION), DIGITAL TECHNICIAN GARY HAMNER, PHOTO ASSISTANT CORY HACKBARTH, STYLIST ASSISTANT ABI ARCINAS

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