These are the 7 movies premiering at Sundance 2015 that we’re most anticipating.
Z for Zachariah
Based on the book by Robert C. O’Brien, Z for Zachariah is a post-apocalyptic story about a small-town girl named Ann Burden, played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), who thinks she’s the lone survivor after a nuclear war. Her world is turned upside down when she meets two strangers, played by Chris Pine (Into The Woods) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave). In the book, Ann only meets one stranger, so Pine’s character is a mysterious new addition to the movie. Originally, Amanda Seyfried was supposed to play the lead, but dropped out. Z for Zachariah is directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance).
Nasty Baby comes from Sebastián Silva, the Chilean-born director of The Maid and Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus. Silva and TV on the Radio frontman Tunde Adebimpe play a gay couple, Freddy and Mo, who really want to have a baby. Enter Kristen Wiig, who got positive reviews for her performance in last year’s Sundance premiere, The Skeleton Twins. Wiig plays the couple’s best friend and surrogate, Polly. While Freddy is clearly dying to be a father, Mo is much more hesitant about the entire process. Nasty Baby is described as being set in the “multicultural vibrancy of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.” There’s also conflict with an aggressive neighborhood man nicknamed The Bishop, played by House of Cards‘ Reg E. Cathey.
The Stanford Prison Experiment
The Stanford Prison Experiment dramatizes the actual psychological experiment that took place over the course of six days in 1971 under professor Philip Zimbardo. Twenty-four male students were selected to participate. The experiment was designed to study the effects of being a prisoner or a prison guard, and the results went way beyond Zimbardo’s expectations. The mock prison guards actually inflicted psychological torture on the mock prisoners, and Zimbardo did not interfere. Eventually, two of the prisoners quit and the experiment had to be prematurely shut down. The cast includes Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan, Johnny Simmons, and Olivia Thirlby. And Philip Zimbardo himself consulted on the film, which is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.).
Seoul Searching is “an ’80s romantic teen comedy about a group of diverse Korean teens from around the world desperately trying to connect with one another — in the end only to find themselves.” Director John Hughes and The Breakfast Club were a huge source of inspiration for this movie, according to the filmmakers. Seoul Searching stars Justin Chon, best known for starring in 21 & Over and the Twilight franchise, as well as Jessika Van (Awkward.), Japanese recording artist Crystal Kay, Albert Kong, and former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Sue Son. You can view a teaser for the movie here.
Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel) stars in Stockholm, Pennsylvania, a drama written and directed by Nikole Beckwith, alongside Cynthia Nixon and Jason Isaacs. Ronan plays a young woman who was kidnapped and forced to live with her abductor for 17 years, leaving her developmentally stunted. When she finally reunites with her family, she has trouble readjusting. This will be Beckwith’s directorial debut. Ronan is arguably the most talented young actress of her generation, and I’m excited to see her play such a complex character. Some of her previous projects like The Host and The Lovely Bones have bombed spectacularly. Hopefully, with the Academy Award-nominated The Grand Budapest Hotel under her belt, she’s doing a better job picking projects now.
This time Saoirse Ronan goes back to her Irish roots. Brooklyn is a romance taking place in the 1950s about a young immigrant named Eilis Lacey who moves from a small town in Ireland to Brooklyn, New York in order to find work. There, she falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian-American. Brooklyn is based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, and is directed by John Crowley (Closed Circuit, Boy A). It also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, and Arrow‘s Emily Bett Rickards.
I Smile Back
Starring The Good Wife‘s Josh Charles and comedian Sarah Silverman, in a rare dramatic turn, I Smile Back is about a suburban housewife and mother who’s suffering from “depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion. Only very real danger will force her to face the painful root of her destructiveness and its crumbling effect on those she loves.” I Smile Back is directed by Adam Salky.