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 

More Film


    Shorts Encourage Women to STEAM Careers

    Straight Up Films created the anthology “Power/On” of five shorts focused on encouraging girls in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math with the arts thrown in) directed by actresses Rosario Dawson, Julie Bowen, Ana Brenda Contreras, Lisa Edelstein, and Nikki Reed. With support from YouTube, the shorts premiered Wednesday at the Google campus in Playa [...]

  • Stefanie Sherk obit

    Stefanie Sherk, Actress and Wife to Demian Bichir, Dies at 43

    Canadian actress and model Stefanie Sherk died on April 20 of an apparent suicide by drowning. She was 43. The Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed the ruling and cause of death. Sherk appeared in the TV show “CSI: Cyber” and the movie “Valentine’s Day.” She also starred in the show “The Bridge” alongside her husband [...]

  • Ron HowardBreakthrough Prize, Arrivals, NASA Ames

    Ron Howard Talks New Luciano Pavarotti Documentary

    If one is an anomaly, two are a coincidence and three are a trend, then Ron Howard might strictly become a music documentarian after “Pavarotti” hits theaters. The documentary about the world-famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti comes on the heels of Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and “Made in America,” a look at [...]

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Star in Netflix Assassin Thriller 'Kate' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is set to star in the Netflix actioner “Kate,” sources tell Variety. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is helming from a script by Umair Aleem. The story revolves around a female assassin, who, after being poisoned and given less than 24 hours to live, must go on a manhunt through [...]

  • Shannon Hoon

    Blind Melon Frontman's Home Movies Captivate in Tribeca Doc 'All I Can Say'

    For a period of five years, Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon diligently chronicled his own life, videotaping himself with a Hi-8 video camera through every step of his musical journey — starting out in Indiana, through his meteoric rise to alt-rock icon, up to the day of his death in 1995. These captivating moments finally [...]

  • 'The Edge of Democracy' Review: A

    Film Review: 'The Edge of Democracy'

    How the hell did we get here? It’s a question that political liberals are asking themselves in many parts of the world, reeling as they are from a global tilt to the right that has yielded the tumultuous Trump presidency, the ceaseless, squabbling chaos of Brexit and, albeit less prominently in international headlines, Brazil’s submission [...]

  • Brie Larson

    Brie Larson on Diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: 'We Gotta Move Faster'

    While Brie Larson is thrilled over the success of the female-led “Captain Marvel,” the actress wants more diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Larson sat down with Variety’s Marc Malkin for the first episode of Variety and iHeartMedia’s new film podcast, “The Big Ticket.” “I’m happy to be on the forefront of the normalization of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content