Sundance fever

'Psycho,' 'Room' top fest's premieres

The unveiling of 15 high profile independent films will highlight the Premiere section of the Sundance Film Festival 2000, which takes place Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.

Among the highly anticipated films set to receive coveted launches at the fest are Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ notorious novel “American Psycho” starring Christian Bale; Ben Younger’s offbeat caper “Boiler Room” with Giovanni Ribisi and Ben Affleck; Michael Almereyda’s modern rendition of “Hamlet” toplining Ethan Hawke; and Brad Anderson’s time-traveling satire “Happy Accidents” featuring Vincent D’Onofrio and Marisa Tomei.

Other include Stanley Tucci’s “Joe Gould’s Secret” about legendary New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell; Emilio Estevez’s biopic “Rated X” starring the director and brother Charlie Sheen as San Francisco porno kings the Mitchell brothers; and Keith Gordon’s other-worldly romantic drama “Waking the Dead” toplining Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly.

Opening night flavor

Opening night attraction in Salt Lake City will be Gurinder Chadha’s “What’s Cooking?,” a multiflavored story of four different ethnic families — black, Jewish, Latino and Vietnamese — celebrating the very American holiday of Thanksgiving. Interwoven stories examine class, food and the American experience from distinct points of view. The U.K./U.S. production features Joan Chen, Dennis Haysbert, Lainie Kazan, Julianna Margulies, Mercedes Ruehl, Kyra Sedgwick and Alfre Woodard. Director’s previous pic was “Bahji on the Beach.”

First-nighter in Park City will be “Joe Gould’s Secret,” a Howard Rodman-penned period Gotham story in which Tucci stars alongside Hope Davis and Ian Holm. October Films production will be released by USA Films.

Notable premieres

Centerpiece premiere will be Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Love and Basketball,” about the careers and romance of a young man and woman as they grow up together and become basketball players. Produced by Spike Lee, New Line release stars Sanaa Lathan, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert, James Dumont, Omar Epps and Debbi Morgan. Fest’s other preems are:

  • “About Adam,” a production of Miramax’s U.K. wing HAL, a romantic farce directed by Gerard Stambridge and starring Kate Hudson and Frances O’Connor.
  • “American Psycho,” a loose and satirical adaptation of Ellis’ novel from Lions Gate Films, directed by Harron (“I Shot Andy Warhol”) and featuring Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis and Chloe Sevigny.
  • “The Big Kahuna,” a hit at the Toronto fest, a legit-based drama from Lions Gate Films about salesmen directed by John Swanbeck and starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli.
  • “Boiler Room,” a Long Island-set thriller from New Line directed by Younger and starring Ribisi, Nia Long, Vin Diesel and Affleck.
  • “The Broken Hearts Club,” directed by Greg Barlanti, a gay-themed tale about several West Hollywood pretty boys who begin to confront their futures, starring Timothy Olyphant, Matt McGrath, Ben Weber, Zach Braff, Dean Cain, Billy Porter, Andrew Keegan, John Mahoney, Mary McCormack and Nia Long. To be released by Screen Gems.
  • “The Filth and the Fury,” a British docu in which director Julien Temple revisits the Sex Pistols, the subject of his landmark music pic “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.” Produced by Jersey Shore and set for Fine Line release.
  • “Hamlet,” in which director Almereyda (“Nadja”) has transplanted the Bard’s classic to a city very like contempo New York and the playwright’s verse is spoken by Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Bill Murray, Liev Schreiber, Sam Shepard, Julia Stiles, Diane Venora, Jeffrey Wright and Steve Zahn.
  • “Happy Accidents,” a comedic look at time travel from director Anderson (“Next Stop Wonderland”) in which the current day reps the past, featuring D’Onofrio and Tomei along with Nadia Dajani, Holland Taylor and Anthony Michael Hall.
  • “Love and Sex,” directed by Valerie Breiman, a romantic farce starring Famke Janssen, Jon Favreau, Noah Emmerich, Ann Magnuson, Cheri Oteri and Josh Hopkins.
  • “Rated X,” a Showtime-produced feature directed by Estevez about the creators of “Behind the Green Door.”
  • “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her,” in which director Rodrigo Garcia intersects five vignettes about women. Produced by Jon Avnet and starring Glenn Close, Cameron Diaz, Calista Flockhart, Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Valeria Golino, Holly Hunter, Matt Craven, Gregory Hines, Miguel Sandoval, Noah Fleiss and Danny Woodburn. MGM will distribute.
  • “Pavarotti in Dad’s Room,” a film directed by Sara Sugarman and destined for a title change, an offbeat satiric comedy set in Wales starring Jonathan Pryce and Rachel Griffiths as a baker and his crazy daughter.
  • “The Virgin Suicides,” Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut, an adaptation of the book featuring Kirsten Dunst, Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Danny DeVito and Giovanni Ribisi that attracted notice in Cannes. Paramount Classics will distribute.
  • “Waking the Dead,” a romance from Egg Pictures and USA Films that transcends mortality from Keith Gordon (“Mother Night”) in which Crudup and Connelly are joined by Molly Parker, Janet McTeer, Paul Hipp, Sandra Oh and Hal Holbrook.