vulture festival 2017

Brit Marling Told a Ghost Story So Good She Was Kicked Out of Sleepaway Camp

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LACMA

Even before Brit Marling developed The OA for Netflix, she was a rapturous storyteller. In conversation with E. Alex Jung at Vulture Festival, The OA star and co-creator told the crowd about the power of the first story she ever told.

“I was staying at a sleepaway girls camp and the cabin was made of wood with eyes in it,” she told the audience. “I started telling the other girls in the cabin this ghost story. I told them the knots in the wood were eyes of ghosts and this ground was where there had been a massacre and everyone in the massacre was staring down from us in the eyes of the cabin.”

Marling’s camp audience was spooked. “I told this story over a few days and then I got called down to the front office and they were like, ‘Your parents are here to take you home because so many girls complained because of the nightmares they kept having,’” she recalled. “From early on I was invested in the idea that narrative structure works so well.”

Netflix recently renewed The OA for a second season, and Marling teased a bit of what to expect when the show — and those movements — return. “The OA is a bit more like an 8-hour film than a long format. It’s a novel but a cinematic experience of it,” she said. “If you surrender, it’s like a hijacking of your senses.”

Brit Marling’s Ghost Story Got Her Kicked Out of Camp