Though the annual Sundance Film Festival has been home to all kinds of movies, the independent film haven has premiered a surprisingly complete roster of the past few decades’ best examples of a genre more often associated with big budgets and Hollywood studios: the thriller. Featuring a young and hungry assortment of the movie world’s biggest stars and most respected filmmakers, these ten wildly original thrill rides launched careers into the realm of superheroes and Oscar wins.
Each actor to step into MI6 Agent Bond’s shoes has made the role his own–we’ve had some suave womanizers (Roger Moore, Pierce Bronsan) and some fierce menacers (Sean Connery, Daniel Craig)–and through it all the action franchise has remained a swaggering and unstoppable force at the box office. It’s a lot of pressure to be cast as a Bond, and it’s no surprise that the lucky men who’ve filled the role each needed some action-thriller practice to cut their teeth. Below we’ve compiled a list of our favorite action pics starring Bond actors, before their stint as the legendary spy.
1. Layer Cake with Daniel Craig
Two years before his first Bond pic Casino Royale, the actor was being primed for stardom via this well-crafted British crime thriller. Craig plays “XXXX,” a London drug kingpin on the verge of retirement who finds himself knee-deep in the drug trade. With its impressively styled action sequences, Layer Cake is more than 007 1.0. It’s also a modern action classic.
Jim Mickle and Nick Damici (Cold In July, We Are What We Are) attached to write and direct the series based on the novels by Joe Lansdale.
New York – January 6, 2014 – Sundance Channel announced today that its highly anticipated next original scripted series THE RED ROAD will premiere on February 27, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT. On the heels of the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated TOP OF THE LAKE and the critically acclaimed dramas RECTIFY and THE RETURNED, THE RED ROAD is a complex thriller that marks a continued commitment by the network to offer daring, fresh, scripted entertainment.
Viewers can still get hooked on the engrossing, stylish eight-part French horror series that Entertainment Weekly gave an “A-” and called “eerie, tense, and highly addictive.” Beginning Sunday December 1st, each week, viewers will have the chance to catch-up on all previously aired episodes during marathons of THE RETURNED in anticipation of each week’s brand new episode on Sundance Channel.
MATTHEW CHAPMAN’S CONTROVERSIAL THRILLER THE LEDGE
SNEAK PREVIEWS ONLINE AT SUNDANCENOW
Unique Release Continues Mission of Pioneering
New Distribution Methods to Reach the Widest Audience
New York City (May 6, 2011) – SundanceNOW, a new online destination to discover the best of independent film, announced today that the controversial Sundance thriller, THE LEDGE, is sneak previewing on SundanceNOW.com before it becomes available in theaters and On Demand marking the first time IFC Films has premiered a film online. THE LEDGE is a sexy, suspenseful, thriller that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. It is directed and written by Matthew Chapman and stars Charlie Hunnam (SONS OF ANARCHY), Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, and Christopher Gorham (UGLY BETTY). The film is produced by Mark Damon and Michael Mailer. THE LEDGE premieres on Wednesday, May 11th at SundanceNOW.com.
THE LEDGE is available for $12.99 on SundanceNOW prior to its pre-theatrical video-on-demand launch on May 25 on cable, satellite and digital platforms. The film is then going to have a theatrical premiere on Friday, July 8.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “THE LEDGE is a provocative film with a shocking conclusion that will really get people talking. It is exactly the kind of film that will work well on multiple platforms and gives us a great opportunity to expand on our mission: bringing independent films to the widest audience possible, utilizing all the platforms available to us. We continue to believe that the audience for our films is best-served by bringing films to them via the electronic art-house circuit we have created and continue to innovate as well as via the traditional theatrical art-house.”
“These days, there are many new and innovative ways to distribute a film, and new techniques are constantly evolving. IFC is at the forefront of cutting edge independent distribution, and we love that they are trying something new with THE LEDGE,” says producer Mark Damon.
Adds director Matthew Chapman, “We sold the film to IFC Films because we knew they would help us reach the widest audience possible and this unique release strategy does just that. THE LEDGE is a film that is designed to get people talking and thinking and a sneak preview on the web is a great way to start the conversation.”
One step can change a life forever in THE LEDGE. After embarking on a passionate affair with his evangelical neighbor’s wife (Liv Tyler), Gavin (‘Sons of Anarchy’s’ Hunnam) soon finds himself in a battle of wills that will have life or death consequences. Gavin, an atheist, is lured by his lover’s husband (‘Insidious’ Wilson) to the ledge of a high rise and told he has one hour to make a choice between his life and the one he loves. Without faith in an afterlife, will he be able to make a decision? It’s up to police officer Hollis (Howard) to save both their lives but the clock is ticking in this edge-of-your-seat film that will leave you gasping until the final frame.
I saw THE NEXT THREE DAYS over Thanksgiving (Hello, Atlanta! What a welcome sight you are from the wilds of Ohio), and it was a crazy ride – I hesitate to say fun, because it’s really not – but exciting, thought-provoking, a serious film with serious performances, yet wrapped in the gloss of genre-Holiday-big-budget-excitement? Yes! I would also deem it falls into a new category, one I welcome: the sentimental thriller.
The first of Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy” (ROSEMARY’S BABY, THE TENANT), REPULSION remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The new Criterion release, out July 28th, includes a funny, candid, and refreshingly unpolished 1964 French TV on-set documentary along with the Polanski-approved hi-def digital transfer.
Since Michael Jackson’s death last week the King of Pop’s fans have shown respect in a myriad of ways. This video has to be the most unique, and if you think about it, the most fitting. 1500 inmates in the Philippines paying tribute to the fallen pop star. This isn’t their first Jackson performance. Take…