Mindy Kaling Comedy Scores Record Deal; Michael Jackson Doc Shocks Sundance

January 29, 2019 by Nick Nadel

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival kicked off with some buzzworthy films and one massive, record-breaking sale. Stars like Shia LaBeouf, Mindy Kaling and Zac Efron are already earning acclaim, while several documentaries are provoking strong reactions from critics and audiences.

Read on for the latest news from the Sundance Film Festival, and check back for more as the fest heads towards its conclusion on February 3rd.

  • Vox calls Native Son, filmmaker Rashid Johnson’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s novel about a young man coming of age in Chicago, “imperfect but mesmerizing.”
  • Variety reports that A24 has purchased The Farewell, a wedding dramedy starring Awkwafina, for around $6 million.
  • Polygon says Shia LaBeouf gives a “career performance” in Honey Boy, an autobiographical drama written by the actor who also stars as an abusive father to a child actor.
  • The AV Club discusses audience reaction to The Nightingale, the brutal Western from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent.
  • Deadline broke the news about the record $13 million deal Amazon brokered for the Mindy Kaling/Emma Thompson comedy Late Night. The deal is the biggest U.S. domestic rights sale ever at Sundance, topping the $12 million Amazon shelled out at the 2017 fest for The Big Sick.
  • The Hollywood Reporter captured Julianne Moore, Robert Redford, Michelle Williams and more celebrities hanging out in Park City.
  • Rolling Out described the “stunned” and “shellshocked” reaction critics and audiences had to Leaving Neverland, the four-hour documentary about the Michael Jackson sexual abuse allegations.
  • USA Today reveals that the government shutdown prevented Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from attending the premiere of Knock Down the House, the documentary which followed her and several other women as they ran for Congress in 2018.
  • The Guardian says Zac Efron “kills it” in the Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
  • IndieWire applauds the “sharp, propulsive” documentary Mike Wallace Is Here, filmmaker Avi Belkin’s portrait of the late 60 Minutes newsman’s quest for the truth.
  • Vulture spoke to Dr. Ruth Westheimer about the sex therapist’s new documentary that she hopes will earn her an Oscar.
  • EW has details about Robert Redford’s opening remarks, where the veteran actor announced that he’s stepping away from the festival he helped to found back in 1978.

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2019