Reported from Park City and Salt Lake City by Vanessa Juarez, Gregory Kirschling, Whitney Pastorek, Missy Schwartz, Sean Smith, and Adam B. Vary
What — better still, who — was shaking at the 27th Sundance Film Festival on Saturday? Tom Hanks popped by neighboring Salt Lake City (late Friday night, actually) to support his indie movie. Back up in Park City, Bruce Willis, Robert De Niro, and Emily Blunt hit town. Bono & Co. found what they were looking for in a splashy premiere at the Eccles. And, wait, was that Dan Rather? EW’s highlights from day 3 at the fest…
As everybody knows, the bulk of the Sundance Film Festival takes place in a smallish ski-resort town called Park City, but a very small number of events are reserved for the nearby Utah metropolis/capital Salt Lake City. So it went with Friday night’s premiere of writer-director Sean McGinly’s dramedy The Great Buck Howard, in which John Malkovich plays a Kreskin-esque mentalist, with Colin Hanks as his assistant/protegé and the ubiquitous Ms. Blunt as his publicist. Oh, and Colin’s dad (who also produced the feature) shows up as, uh, Colin’s dad. The elder Hanks came to SLC to support the film and spent a good while on the relatively sleepy red carpet (when it comes to glitz Utah has nothing on Hollywood, duh) kibitzing with journalists and ribbing a reporter from an L.A. news station. The two-time Oscar winner seemed to be having such a jolly old time that when a publicist interjected that maybe it was time to, you know, maybe, like, head into the theater, he mock-angrily replied, ”Back off, publicity flack!” But he was kidding, of course: C’mon, it was Tom Hanks!
American Teen Generates the Fest’s First Heat
One of the most talked-about documentaries heading into Sundance, American Teen, the latest film from The Kid Stays in the Picture codirector Nanette Burstein, evidently lived up to the hype when it screened at 2:30 p.m. The film — which follows four Indiana high schoolers through their senior year — played to a jam-packed theater that roared in approval when the curtain came down. Meanwhile, a fellow American movie — that’d be the Nick Cannon Iraq War drama American Son — played to a slightly more lukewarm reaction. Melonie Diaz, who plays Cannon’s love interest in the movie, told EW that she thinks the former Nickelodeon star has really come into his own as an actor. It remains to be seen if distributors agree.
EW Checked in With Some Boldface Names
Sunshine Cleaning (and The Great Buck Howard) star Emily Blunt sat down for a brief chat, telling EW of her busy Sundance, ”it’s been nuts.” That was followed by a thoroughly nutty chat with Robert De Niro and Bruce Willis. Oh, and let’s not forget about Colin Farrell weighing in on what women want.
Roman Polanski Is a Wanted Man…
…in Sundance, too, where Marina Zenovich’s documentary about the admired/disgraced director, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, saw its international distribution rights bought by the Weinstein Company. (Hey, our critic liked it, too.)
It Must Be the Altitude
One intrepid EW reporter awoke on Saturday (at her desk, mind you) to find that her mind was still swimming with muddled memories of her recent close encounters of the celebrity kind. Still a bit foggy, she headed off to a screening of the geriatrics-singing-punk-rock doc Young@Heart and wound up crying her eyes out.
And the Stars Fell on P.C., Utah
Yep, that was Bono and his fellow bandmates zipping into town and scurrying down the red carpet at the premiere of their movie extravaganza U2 3D. And, yep, their appearance was a bit of a surprise. And elsewhere in town on Saturday, to answer one stunned onlooker’s query after watching a certain former CBS newsman hop into a black Hyundai outside Sundance HQ, heading for parts unknown, ”Is that really Dan Rather?” Yep. Yep it was.
(Compiled by Joshua Rich)