Friday Roundup: Sundance pickups; Polanski to skip Berlinale; 'Dragon Tattoo' wins big at Swedish film awards
Two pictures will leave Sundance this week with distribution deals; the Joel Schumacher-directed crime drama "Twelve" was snapped up by Hannover House for $2 million, while "Hesher," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman (who also produced) and Rainn Wilson, saw its domestic rights picked up by Newmarket Films for $1 million. "Twelve," which stars Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts and 50 Cent, is Hannover House's first serious commitment to a theatrical release; the company, which previously dealt primarily in book publishing and home video, announced in early January that it was coming to the festival with the intention of acquiring the rights to up to four features for distribution. "Hesher" is certainly a step toward gaining broad attention for the company; the suburban drama, about a nihilistic drifter (Gordon-Levitt) who takes root in the life of a disillusioned teen (Devin Brochu), is drawing attention (if not entirely positive reviews) for its angsty indie vibe and casual violence.
Meanwhile, Roman Polanski will miss the competition screening of his latest thriller, "The Ghost Writer," at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. The Oscar-winning director is under house arrest in Switzerland for the 1977 charge of unlawful sex with a minor, and is currently facing extradition to California for sentencing. He informed Berlinale head Dieter Kossick by phone that he will be unable to present his film at the festival, and will also forgo a videotaped message. Polanski's films have fared well at past Berlin fests; "Cul-de-Sac" took home the Golden Bear in 1966, while "Repulsion" received the Silver Bear in 1965.
Danish director Niels Arden Oplev's film adaptation of the best-selling "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" captured top prize at the Swedish Film Institute's Guldbagge Awards on Monday. The Swedish-Danish-German thriller was the first film to win both the best feature derby and the Audience Award, which is based on votes by fans. The film's star, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, also won best actress, while Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" acquired its latest laurel by taking the best foreign language trophy. "Tattoo," which has been a box office success in Sweden since its release in February 2009, will finally make it to our shores on March 12. Here's a look at the first English-language trailer (with some decidedly overblown voice-over work), from U.K.-based Momentum Pictures and Yellow Bird Films:
-- Paul Gaita
Photo: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Credit: Getty Images.
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