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SUNDANCE: ‘The Surrogate’ seduces Park City


Sundance2012Disabled sex drama “The Surrogate” brought the Eccles Theater to its feet Monday afternoon at the Sundance Film Festival.

Starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, director Ben Lewin’s drama centers on a 38 year-old man determined to lose his virginity, despite the fact that he’s confined to an iron long. 

“Only one audience has seen the film so it’s kinda early for me to be too overly excited,” Hawkes said of the pic’s early praise.

But as soon as Fox Searchlight acquired the drama late Monday, “The Surrogate” was no longer an independent feature but a Sundance success story.

“Today was fun,” Oscar-winner Helen Hunt said at the Variety Studio afterward.

Hunt, who bares all in the ‘sex-positive’ film, said her character’s full frontal nudity was “just part of the creative process.”

“It was a beautiful story with beautiful actors and a great part, let the naked take care of itself,” the actress said.

Based on the autobiographical memoir by journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, “The Surrogate” was directed by sixty-five year-old helmer Ben Lewin, who also struggled with Polio as a child.

“How lovely it is that we’re all human,” actor William H. Macy said, afterward, saying that the film’s standing ovation “was really for Ben (Lewin).”

Meanwhile, Hawkes, who returns to Sundance after last year’s breakout hit “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” has become somewhat of a staple in Park City.

“It’s a great, great festival,” he said. “The studios don’t seem to make midbudget movies for adults anymore so the independent arenas, like this, have to pick up the slack.”

Hunt, who has kept a low-profile since 2000’s “What Women Want,” summed it up best:

“You die for good writing and if you get paid, even better.”

Follow Stuart Oldham on Twitter 

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