Sundance certainly is credited with launching the careers of filmmakers. As the 10-day festival progresses, there undoubtedly will be more performances that grab deserved attention. But here are 10 receiving early buzz ahead of the festival’s launch Thursday:
Melanie Lynskey, Hello I Must Be Going (directed by Todd Louiso) – Those in the know describe Lynskey’s performance in this Sundance film as “one that will take notice of her as an adult”. Back in the mid-90s Lynskey first-caught audience attention with her portrayal of an outcast teen whose relationship with best friend Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nominated Heavenly Creatures goes out of control. Lynskey also starred in last year’s Sundance feature, Win Win. Apparently the Sundance higher ups are “super bullish” on her latest and gave this competition feature an opening night spot Thursday. Lynskey plays the lead who at age 35 is forced to move back in with her parents. Then a 19 year-old guy (played by Christopher Abbott who also received initial Sundance accolades) brings her back to life.
Brady Corbet, Simon Killer (directed by Antonio Campos) – Still in his early 20s, Brady Corbet is a film fest vet. Corbet starred in last year’s Sundance discovery Martha Marcy May Marlene and in Lars von Trier’s recent Cannes pic Melancholia. But his trek to Park City this time is being touted by more than a few insiders and this film which has landed a primo Friday afternoon premiere. Corbet plays Simon, a college graduate who heads to Paris after breaking up with his girlfriend. A fateful journey begins anew however after he falls for a mysterious prostitute — though it’s actually Simon who harbors secrets.
Lauren Miller, For A Good Time Call… (directed by Jamie Travis) – Not only does Lauren Anne Miller (50/50 and Superbad) have a producer and co-writing credit in this Sundance Premieres feature, but this may very well be her breakthrough in addition to her first starring role. Miller stars opposite Ari Graynor (also in Sundance’s Celeste & Jesse) playing college frenemies that move in together. One intrudes on the other’s late night and loud bedroom antics, discovering a dirty little secret that brings the two closer. Miller’s husband is Seth Rogen who co-stars in the film though it’s “her time to shine” say those in the know.
Thure Lindhardt, Keep The Lights On (directed by Ira Sachs) – This Danish actor who appeared in Sean Penn’s Into The Wild received early buzz with this film following a sneak peek in NYC. Based on a true story, the pic chronicles the unlikely pairing of a documentary filmmaker (Lindhardt) and a closeted lawyer. Both are risk-takers exacerbated by bouts of drugs and sex. Insiders call the film a “a true labor of love to get off the ground” and casting was also a challenge with U.S. actors reluctant to take on some of the gay content.
Mark Webber, The End of Love (directed by Mark Webber) – Not exactly a stranger to the big screen, Mark Webber is already winning praise with The End Of Love for not only for his role as a struggling actor “stuck between the life he once knew and the one waiting for him.” But also because he is the director/screenwriter. Pic is described as “an honest brave film for him to make,” notes one insider. Webber also appears in this year’s For A Good Time Call…
AnnaLynne McCord, Excision (directed by Richard Bates, Jr.) – People familiar with this Park City at Midnight feature are confident AnnaLynne McCord will be a breakout with this role. The film “is crazy and she apparently steals the show,” I hear. Nominated for a Teen Choice Award in 2009 for her role in 90210, McCord has had her share of TV appearances in the last decade but insiders say Excision promises to be “unlike anything she’s really done before”.
Andrea Riseborough, Shadow Dancer (directed by James Marsh) – Riseborough nailed a high profile role in Madonna’s W.E. as Wallis Simpson, but it could be this part in Oscar winner Marsh’s Premieres section debut that may cement her as a name in America. She appears in almost every scene with a cast including Clive Owen and Aidan Gillen in this political thriller about the IRA in 1970s Belfast. Riseborough’s character becomes an informant for British intelligence following a foiled London bomb plot.
Katie Aselton, Black Rock (directed by Katie Aselton) – Chatter has already swirled in several corners that Black Rock may propel Aselton to stardom as an actress. But Aselton also directs this buzzed-about Park City at Midnight film featuring Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell. It’s about three childhood friends who set their differences aside for a weekend of island fun off Maine that turns into a fight for survival. Film is a family affair: actor and Aselton’s husband Mark Duplass penned the feature and produced along with brother and film collaborator Jay Duplass.
Tim Heidecker, The Comedy (directed by Rick Alverson) – Heidecker (from TV’s Tim And Eric) took the role in this feature screening in competition and now the words “breakout performance” and “someone people will talk about” follow him. He plays Swanson, a hipster insulated by privilege but living in a social bubble of recreational cruelty with his clique of friends. Heidecker will have a busy Sundance with his Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (co-directed by Eric Wareheim) screening in Park City at Midnight.
Sydney Aguirre, KID-THING (directed by David Zellner) – This young actress only has a previous short film credit, but her turn in this feature foretells a budding career, as insiders tell me. In the film she plays Annie, a friendless 10 year-old who rides her bike around Austin indulging in daily mischief. One day she hears a woman’s voice in an abandoned well and is unsure what to do.