Sundance 2008

Sundance Day 9: An End in Sight

It's (almost) a wrap! With swag suites shuttered and sales still slow, stars got sassy

AARON ECKHART IN TOWELHEAD
AARON ECKHART IN TOWELHEAD

Reported from Park City by Owen Gleiberman, Vanessa Juarez, Whitney Pastorek, Missy Schwartz, and Adam B. Vary

Even as the 2008 Sundance Film Festival started to wind down on Friday, many in attendance were still, after nine days up in the thin air of Utah, waiting for certain things to really start up. After all, this may go down as one of the slower Sundances ever in terms of sales. With Saturday's final-night awards celebration on the horizon, day 9's only deal of note was for the comedy Baghead, which Sony Pictures Classics snapped up for less than $1 million. Meanwhile, more star-studded fare — like Tom Hanks' The Great Buck Howard, the well-received Sunshine Cleaning with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, and Robert De Niro's What Just Happened? — continued to seek some marketplace love.

But despite all that sluggishness and the fact that the festival was definitely starting to close shop by Friday evening, EW.com's coverage remained open for business. Highlights from our penultimate day in Park City...

Lingering sadness
Heath Ledger's passing remained in the minds of many as they sat down to watch Incendiary, in which Ledger's ex-fiancée, Michelle Williams, plays a grieving widow whose husband died in a terrorist attack. Poignant and provocative, the film moved audiences early in the festival and then took on an unforeseen and unintended tragic meaning as the events of the week unfolded.

Jive talkin'
Between the cold and the altitude and all the yapping we've done with everybody from Alan Rickman (we asked him all about Harry Potter...well, we tried, at least) to Mark Pellington (who hit the Sundance jackpot as the director of the popular seller Henry Poole Is Here and the concert film U2 3D) it's amazing we haven't lost our voices. We're so chatty!

You think that's chatty? Try this
Oh, but we have nothing on the kooky, chummy casts of Hamlet 2 (Steve Coogan, Elisabeth Shue, and David Arquette) and The Year of Getting to Know Us (Tom Arnold, Jimmy Fallon, Illeana Douglas, and Patrick Sisam). Think of them as the indie version of wind-up dolls.

Say cheese
While our only-in-print celeb chats were rowdy, our video interviews may have seemed downright reserved by comparison. But, in actual fact, they were super sweet. Aaron Eckhart dished on his new movie Towelhead (from Six Feet Under maestro Alan Ball), in which he plays the object of a young girl's sexual obsession. Michael Keaton talked about his feature-directing debut, The Merry Gentleman. The geriatric cast of Young@Heart stopped by to sing. And speaking of old time rock 'n' roll, we also checked in with some guys named Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Josh Groban is not friends with Satan
Just wanted to clear that up. For the record. Because, you know, some had been wondering. No, in fact, the singer — who was in town performing a little acoustic show and shunning the swag suites — turned out to be totally game for a fun, charming, in-depth, and indubitably hilarious interview. See you later, Alan Rickman: We may have a new Sundance crush!

The horror! The horror!
Hey, Michael Haneke, acclaimed Austrian director of Caché and The Piano Teacher, thanks. Thanks a lot. You creeped the crap out of us with Funny Games, your thoroughly disturbing new English-language adaptation of your thoroughly disturbing 1997 thriller about a family held hostage in their home. We're sending you our shrink bill. And, trust us, it's gonna cost you. Because, God knows, after a week-and-a-half covering the Sundance Film Festival, we've got a heck of a lot of unwinding to do.

(Compiled by Joshua Rich)

Originally posted Jan 25, 2008