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Sundance Film Festival: People: Feb. 5, 2007

4 minute read
Rebecca Winters Keegan


What film festival would be complete without some conflict? Before the premiere of Hounddog, in which DAKOTA FANNING, 12, plays a victim of sexual abuse, religious groups and child advocates were condemning it as child pornography, and former child actors like Alison Arngrim (Nellie from Little House on the Prairie) were saying Fanning was being exploited. In the disturbing, if not explicit, scene that inspired the controversy, the camera fixes on a close-up of Fanning’s face while she is raped by a neighborhood boy. But the young actor said the toughest scene for her was actually one with rattlesnakes: “Some of those twitches were real.”


After her drama An American Crime premiered at Sundance, Catherine Keener lightened the mood by catching the NFL playoffs.

How is Sundance different for you now that, thanks to The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Capote, people recognize you?

It’s not that different, ’cause there’s always somebody who you can get ignored for. I showed up for the party of my movie the other night, and I couldn’t get in ’cause they were at capacity.

Initially you didn’t want to play this character, an abusive mom. What brought you around?

When I first read the script, I thought it should be done, but I wanted someone else to do it. My mom read it and urged me to do it. She said, if you do it, I’ll come take care of you. She came and cooked and did my laundry.

Some guy passed out at the screening.

I didn’t stay. I had so not wanted to go back to that feeling. Even when you’re not trying, your mind will go to some ugly places. [At this point, the New England Patriots take her mind away from the ugly places.] Oh, yeah! It’s 21 all!

Why are you rooting for New England? Aren’t you from Florida?

I don’t really care. I just like to yell.

How is your chemistry with the puppets in the film, Where the Wild Things Are?

After I finished my scenes, I’d stay there and coach the puppets. It’s really hard to get a great performance out of a puppet. It’s intense.


When movie buffs started playing Six Degrees of KEVIN BACON, in which players attempt to link any actor to the star in six steps, “I thought it was a joke at my expense,” says Bacon. “And I thought it would go away.” It didn’t. So at Sundance this year, Bacon put the game to use by launching a website, Sixdegrees.org which accepts donations for stars’ favorite charities. “Instead of seeing what a celebrity’s favorite handbag is, you can see what they really care about,” he says. Sixdegrees will also auction off stars’ Sundance freebies on eBay. Never have Parker Posey’s Ugg boots been put to such good use.


The real stars of Sundance are the filmmakers. So naturally this festival is where actors go when they want to check out the view from behind the camera. A sample of this year’s crop:

The Sopranos’ STEVE BUSCEMI is as much a Sundance fixture as fur-lined parkas. This year he’s in two films and directs one, Interview, in which he’s a political journalist who has to profile a soap star. The role sees him getting cozy with Sienna Miller. And people wonder why everyone wants to direct.

ANTONIO BANDERAS’ second directing effort, Summer Rain (his first was Crazy in Alabama), is a coming-of-age tale set in Spain in the ’70s. The Zorro star also adapted the script. Sí, en Español.

ANTHONY HOPKINS stars in his directorial debut, Slipstream, about a screenwriter who mixes up his life with his characters’. He wrote the script and score but didn’t do the catering. Slacker.

A Canadian best known for 1997’s The Sweet Hereafter, SARAH POLLEY directs Julie Christie in Away from Her, about a couple coping with Alzheimer’s. At the youth-happy fest, the most poignant film on aging comes from an actor-director who is just 28.

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