PARK CITY - Elijah Wood has become a mainstay on the festival circuit, but not because he has a film playing every festival. Instead, he's one of those guys who I see showing up at an event like Fantastic Fest simply because he genuinely lives and breathes movies. He is a fan first, and I've had so many great conversations with him over the years after staggering out of something, flattened by what I saw, seeing that same love of movies reflected back in his own response.
As a result, I knew he was one of the people I had to sit down with at Sundance this year to discuss the various films playing here that he's involved with, along with his producing partners. Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller are listed alongside Elijah on both "Cooties" and "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night," and so it seemed perfectly natural for them to join him to talk about developing those two very different films.
In both cases, whether you like the films or not, you can't help but be struck by how strong the voices of the filmmakers are, and that's a real testament to what Noah, Waller, and Wood set out to do as a production team. They are all about supporting the filmmakers they choose to work with, giving them room to try to come up with something singular, and they don't seem to be afraid of challenging or even shattering formula in the process.
We also talked about Elijah's reluctance to star in the film, and how that was more about keeping his producing efforts separate from his work as an actor than anything else. Again, there are so many actors who start production companies for vanity, and Elijah means what he says when he talks about responding to strong voices and looking for new talent he can help foster.
In the end, I walked away from the interview impressed with this team and excited to see what they do beyond this festival. My reviews are up now for both "A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night" and "Cooties," and I think that they goals they set out for themselves were accomplished with style. It looks like Lionsgate is closing in on a deal to release "Cooties," and I'm curious to see who has the guts and the vision to pick up "Girl" for release as well.
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