Samuel L. Jackson stars in two top dramas at January’s Sundance Film Festival, while other key names announced Thursday in the event’s celebrity-driven premieres include Lindsay Lohan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz.
The nation’s top showcase for independent film, Sundance presents Jackson co-starring with Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake in writer-director Craig Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan,” about a blues musician who becomes the protector of an abused woman.
Jackson also appears with Josh Hartnett, Teri Hatcher and Alan Alda in director Rod Lurie’s “Resurrecting the Champ,” about a sports reporter who discovers that a former champion boxer who had been presumed dead is living on the streets.
Lohan and Jared Leto star in Jarrett Schaefer’s “Chapter 27,” a chronicle of killer Mark David Chapman’s obsessions leading up to his slaying of John Lennon. Paltrow co-stars with Cruz and Danny DeVito in her brother Jake Paltrow’s “The Good Night,” about a man whose wretched waking life is offset by romance and happiness with a woman in his dreams.
Other Sundance premieres include Mike Cahill’s “King of California,” starring Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood in a tale about a recently released mental patient convinced there’s Spanish treasure buried beneath his suburban neighborhood; Tamara Jenkins’ “The Savages,” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney in the story of siblings forced to care for their ailing father; and Marco Kreuzpaintner’s “Trade,” featuring Kevin Kline in a drama about a Texas cop helping a Mexican teen to rescue his 13-year-old sister from sex traffickers.
Nelson George’s “Life Support,” with Queen Latifah in a drama about the AIDS crisis among black Americans, is the closing-night film for the festival, which runs Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
Festival organizers previously announced that the festival will open with “Chicago 10,” Brett Morgen’s documentary about activists and their attorneys charged in the aftermath of anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
“I’m really happy that our opening-night film, ‘Chicago 10,’ and the closing night with ‘Life Support’ are both films dealing with real issues in the world,” said festival director Geoffrey Gilmore.
The 17 films in the premieres category do not compete for prizes at Sundance. Festival organizers on Wednesday announced the lineup of 16 films each in Sundance’s four main competitions, the American dramatic and documentary categories and world dramatic and documentary entries.
Also among the premieres is “Summer Rain,” a coming-of-age tale directed by Antonio Banderas, adapted from a novel by his childhood friend, Antonio Soler, the story inspired by their youths growing up in Malaga, Spain.
A Sundance film program focused on more avant-garde movies features “Slipstream,” written and directed by and co-starring Anthony Hopkins. Also featuring Michael Clarke Duncan, Christian Slater and John Turturro, “Slipstream” centers on a man hurled into a vortex where reality and fantasy collide.