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Feb 02, 2014   Leave a Comment Rudderless, Sundance

The directorial debut for Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy, who also plays a small role in it, “Rudderless” was filmed last spring in Oklahoma City and Guthrie. Robison and writing partner Casey Twenter penned the story, with an assist from Macy, about a grieving father (Billy Crudup) who discovers a box of his deceased son’s original music and forms a rock ‘n’ roll band hoping to find peace in the aftermath of tragedy. The film, which also features Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Felicity Huffman and Laurence Fishburne, received largely rave reviews at the festival. After an early press and industry screening garnered positive feedback, the filmmakers attended a party where Crudup, Gomez, musicians Ben Kweller and Ryan Dean (who play Crudup’s bandmates in the film) and “Rudderless” songwriters Simon Steadman and Charlton Pettus performed music from the movie. “Selena was also accompanied by Ben on a wicked acoustic version of (her hit) ‘Come and Get It,’ which brought the house down,” Robison recalled. After the strange new experience of walking the red carpet, Robison and Twenter were thrilled with the festival audiences’ response to the movie, which they worked for four years with Macy to get made. “The movie premiered to a sold-out crowd, and they ate it up. Laughed heartily at all of the jokes, I heard sniffles and snobs, and then, when it was over, they gave it a standing ovation,” Robison said, adding Macy invited him, Twenter and producer Keith Kjarval to participate in a question-and-answer session after the initial screening. “Casey and I went back to the Eccles (Theatre in Park City, Utah) on Saturday morning to another sold-out showing, and lo and behold, the movie received its second standing ovation. Evidently, that’s never happened before, and considering the quality films that have shown there, it’s quite an honor.” Although it screened in the festival’s coveted closing-night slot, Sundance closed without a distribution deal to bring “Rudderless” to domestic theaters. Continue @

Feb 02, 2014   Leave a Comment Reviews, Rudderless

Rudderless is the grief movie of Sundance. I must be an enigma to some readers because I criticize important movies that exploit tragedy, but revel in movies that deal with grief. Well, Rudderless is a great case study in what I want in a drama. It turns grief into vitality and tragedy into beauty. When Josh (Miles Heizer) is killed in a school shooting, his father Sam (Billy Crudup) does his best to keep going, but it gets worse before it gets any better. When he discovers a box of songs Josh recorded, Sam plays one at an open mic night. A local fanboy Quentin (Anton Yelchin) harasses him until Sam agrees to play together, and they ultimately form a band named Rudderless because Sam lives on a boat. Continue @

Jan 26, 2014   Leave a Comment Blood Ties

The latest poster for French director Guillaume Canet’s upcoming crime thriller Blood Ties plays up the family angle with a scrapbook-style layout featuring cast members Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, James Caan, and Billy Crudup. Continue @

Jan 26, 2014   Leave a Comment Rudderless, Sundance

All this week Paste is bringing you preview interviews with filmmakers who are taking their new films to Sundance. Keith Kjarval was last at Sundance with the Jennifer Hudson film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. His new film Rudderless stars William H. Macy (who also directed), Selena Gomez, Jamie Chung, and Billy Crudup, and it’s about a musician struggling with loss. We spoke with him about the film, working with Macy as a director, what he’s looking forward to from the Sundance experience, and much more. Continue @