Sundance has begun! Yesterday were the first premieres and the opening night gala of the Sundance Film Festival, which brought out a lot of stars.
Kristen Stewart was there, as she received the Visionary Award, as was Christopher Nolan, who received the inaugural Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award. Nolan was accompanied by his producing partner and wife, Emma Thomas, and Robert Downey, Jr. If you want to know how bad RDJ wants that Oscar, he wants it “show up at Sundance” bad. Also, Celine Song received a Vanguard Award one year after Past Lives premiered at the fest.
One of the first premieres of the fest was Freaky Tales, from directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, their first feature film since 2019’s Captain Marvel. The film stars Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelsohn, Jay Ellis, Dominique Thorne, and Normani in her feature acting debut. It’s also one of Angus Cloud’s last performances.
Jay Ellis and Pedro Pascal were gazing into one another’s eyes on the carpet, and at this point, I think Pedro Pascal is incapable of NOT hamming it up on a press line.
Also, speaking of Jay Ellis, his Top Gun: Maverick co-star Danny Ramirez is also at Sundance, and let me just say, that announcement of Top Gun 3 is one of the most craven examples of studio headline snatching I have ever seen. It came one day after the new deal between Tom Cruise and Warner Bros. Discovery broke, it’s purely about yanking Cruise’s chain and reminding everyone whatever deals he signs, if he wants to make more Top Gun—who says he does?!—he’ll have to do it with Paramount. At least until they merge with Warner Bros. Discovery (probably).
Anyway, the thing to keep an eye on during Sundance this year, besides all the celebrity mountain fashions—Normani, I KNOW you’re cold in that outfit!—are the business deals. What movies do studios shell out big bucks for? Do they spend big bucks on anything? One person I spoke to who works for a streamer with deep pockets confessed they have a budget this year. It might not be a Sundance of record-breaking deals. After the year of strikes, and with a generally pessimistic attitude permeating the industry, despite the box office bounce back of the last couple years, we wait and see what kind of deals get made.
Live long and gossip,