As the Sundance Film Festival entered its second week of high-altitude schmoozing and selling, WWD took stock of the freshest, and most buzzed about, faces in Park City, Utah, this year.
The New Maggie Gyllenhaal
This story first appeared in the January 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Until this year’s festival, Olsen, who goes by Lizzie, was best known as the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but last week she received raves for her performance as a cult escapee in “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” The 22-year-old NYU Tisch School of the Arts grad also starred in the horror movie “Silent House” at the festival, and her next film to hit theaters is “Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding,” with Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener. (She shot all three movies between May and November of last year.) In March, she begins shooting “Red Lights” with Ryan Reynolds, Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver. “I am going to pee in my pants when I meet Sigourney Weaver,” Olsen says. Her “Martha” co-star Sarah Paulson says, “A lot of other actors her age would go, ‘My sisters are famous. I’m just going to go get an agent.’ But she did it the right way and went to school for acting.” Olsen still does depend on her sisters for clothes, sporting The Row samples in Park City, along with their line Elizabeth and James — which they named after her and her brother — as well as secondhand finds.
The New Amy Ryan
Though she has no fewer than 10 indie film credits on her résumé for 2010 alone, Seimetz is quick to point out that some films “take, like, five days to shoot.” Some may know her from the current art house film “Tiny Furniture” or Sundance favorites “Wristcutters: A Love Story” and “Alexander the Last,” but she’s largely off the radar in mainstream cinema — not by choice, she says, but by the projects that choose her. “That’s where the story is, when you are outside of your comfort zone. I like movies where you are playing someone who’s not necessarily socially acceptable or normal. I think that’s what every actor is attracted to.” Her latest film, Megan Griffiths’ “The Off Hours,” a moody character piece about a small-town truck stop waitress, showcases Seimetz’ vulnerability and rough-around-the-edges beauty.
The New Carey Mulligan
The 27-year-old Brit, star of the Sundance hit “Like Crazy” — which sold to Paramount for $4 million less than a day after its premiere last weekend — already has her share of big-budget, highbrow fare under her belt: Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest,” “Cherie” and “Brideshead Revisited.” It’s no wonder, considering that upon graduating from Oxford with a literature degree she nabbed the role of Catherine Moreland in the BBC’s version of Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey.” But her affecting performance in the indie love story “Like Crazy” (a role she won over 10 other actresses with just a phone call and a video tape) begs comparisons to Mulligan’s breakout here in 2009 in “An Education.” Next month, Jones will appear in the “Juno”-esque U.K. comedy “The Chalet Girl,” opposite Ed Westwick, and she’s currently shooting the David Hare MI-5 thriller “Page 8” with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. In May, she’ll return to the boards after a two-year absence in the Donmar Warehouse play “Luise Miller.”