Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor
This week’s Specialty newcomers include Danny Boyle’s Trance from Fox Searchlight, IFC Films’ Simon Killer and self-distributed Sundance favorite Upstream Color. Trance will likely be the juggernaut of the group with its star-power in the form of James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel, though Upstream Color could prove a hefty presence due to strong word of mouth and a loyal following from fans of Shane Carruth’s previous film, Primer. And the folks behind 2011 hit Martha Marcy May Marlene are opening Simon Killer, a dark drama set in Paris, via IFC Films. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners is this week’s documentary newcomer, while Lotus Eaters hopes to carve itself a piece of the limited release box office pie. Also set to bow, Robert Redford’s thriller The Company You Keep. The specialty world, meanwhile, took pause today as the news of Roger Ebert’s death spread. The famed critic will be remembered for being a champion of movies big and small and will be sorely missed.
As part of its overall deal with Boyle, Searchlight has been on board Trance from the very start. “This is our sixth film we’ve done with Danny starting with 28 Days Later 10 years ago in 2003, and we’ve had a fabulous time,” Searchlight co-president Steve Gilula said in introducing the film at its New York premiere, hosted by The Cinema Society. “The one thing about Danny as a visionary filmmaker is he challenges us and challenges the audience and expects us to go with him…” Boyle introduced co-stars Dawson and Cassel before the screening in Chelsea, noting about the film: “What happens in the movie is deeply, deeply unethical,” he noted to laughs from an audience that included Patrick Stewart, Emma Watson, Kathleen Turner, Gina Gershon and Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson. “But it is clinically possible…”